Death Penalty

Death Penalty Many people will argue that capital punishment is inappropriate as a proper means of punishment for murder and rape. The truth is the death penalty is the most effective form of retributive justice for those crimes. The death penalty is a fitting punishment for violent crime because executions maximize public safety through a form of incapacitation and deterrence. The death penalty has been around since the days of Moses and it is still around today. The reason for this is simply because it works.

The Jews believe that the death penalty was God-given and therefore a necessary part of their religious and judicial system. The Jews use the death penalty to punish such grotesque offenses as bestiality and incest to somewhat minute charges of striking, cursing, or mere disobedience to one’s parents. The methods the Jewish people use to inflict capital punishment are as varied as the crimes for which it is used: Stoning, burning, hanging, beheading, and several more less popular methods. If we look at the Roman Empire we see that crucifixion was a popular mode of execution because, not only did it get rid of the problem, it also punished the criminal with a great deal of torture. Crucifixion is probably the most cruel way to execute someone and therefore one of the most effective ways to deter crime.

Crucifixion involved hanging a person to a device called a cross. The person first had to carry his cross through his hometown and to the place of his death. This further helped to deter crime since few people want their family and friends to witness such a humiliating experience. The criminal was then tied or nailed to the cross with his knees bent. The cross was then lifted up and set into a hole in the ground. This force would dislocate every joint in the body of the criminal.

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While the criminal hanged there, he could push himself up on a foot pedestal so that he could breathe. Eventually the man grew tired, suffocated, and died. The French government wanted a much quicker, cleaner, and simpler way to carry out the death penalty. A doctor by the name of Joseph Guillotin suggested the use of the guillotine in 1792 and, hence, it bares his name. The death penalty has almost always been a part of the American judicial system. Although the methods of inflicting the death penalty have changed since America began, the need for punishing lawbreakers has not.

While the firing squad and hanging were used before the turn of the century, more modern executions are now common. These modern methods include the gas chamber, the electric chair, and the lethal injection. The lethal injection is the most widely used form of execution in the United States. Political leaders know the advantages of capital punishment are far reaching, not only for the citizens themselves but for their moral values as well. The death penalty has been around for a long time and it will continue to be around because it is the single greatest crime deterrent. All major world powers have used the death penalty as a means of controlling crime.

Israel conquered all the kingdoms of their region to become the most powerful nation in the world around the time of Moses and up to a few hundred years before Christ. Their law plainly states in Exodus 21:23, “And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life.” The Jews followed that law flawlessly because they knew that if they let lawlessness go on then their government would soon fail. Hammurabi was an Ammorite ruler who conquered Mesopotamia and set up the Babylonian Empire. He is most famous for his code of laws, called the Code of Hammurabi. They were carved on to an eight-foot-high slab of black stone that was set in the middle of his capital city.

Most were harsh, particularly the rule an eye for an eye and a life for a life. It simply meant that whatever a person did to some one else that person would receive the same treatment. The most powerful nation for the last 150 years is inarguably the United States of America. The United States has always used the death penalty. The only exception is the years between 1967 and 1977 when Supreme Court decision Furman v.

Georgia declared capital punishment unconstitutional. This was a time when the people of the United States were in a “peace” movement. Actually, they were so blinded by the use of drugs that they were left incompetent and unable to distinguish right from wrong. Finally, in 1975, when all the drug use and “peace” movement slowed down and people came to their senses, the Supreme Court overruled the Furman v. Georgia hearing of 1967. This controversial 1975 case, Gregg v.

Georgia, stated that capital punishment did not violate the Constitution of the United States of America. As of now, 37 states use capital punishment to help prevent crime and, at one time or another, every mainland state has had the death penalty in effect. The United States or any of these state governments show no sign of falling apart. It could be that the death penalty helps to stabilize their justice system, economy, and the morale of its people. Furthermore, even the United States military enforces the death penalty.

It is the best military in the world. It has beaten the British navy, the German army, the Russian army, and the Japanese marines, just to name the most prominent opposition. The United States military eliminates bad soldiers as a way of strengthening the entire military. A government that does not take care of its people soon loses its people. Despite the facts, many people still feel that capital punishment is wrong for various reasons.

One of those reasons is that someone will be wrongfully executed. Here are several safeguards to protect the rights of criminals facing the death penalty: 1. Capital punishment may be imposed only for a crime for which the death penalty is prescribed by law at the time of its commission. 2. Persons below 18 years of age, pregnant women, new mothers or persons who have become insane shall not be sentenced to death.

3. Capital punishment may be imposed only when guilt is determined by clear and convincing evidence, leaving no room for an alternative explanation of the facts. 4. Capital punishment may be carried out only after a competent court allowing all possible safeguards to the defendant, including adequate legal assistance renders a final judgment. 5. Anyone sentenced to death shall receive the right to appeal to a court of higher jurisdiction.

6. Anyone sentenced to death shall have the right to seek pardon or commutation of sentenced. 7. Capital punishment shall not be carried out pending any …

Death Penalty

Death Penalty It is a fact that there are 1900 people across the country sitting on Death Row. It is a fact that the US and Turkey are the only two countries that execute people for certain crimes they have committed. It is also a fact that all twelve jurors of a case must unanimously agree for a defendant to receive the Death Penalty. (Films for Humanities) With all of these people sitting on Death Row everyday in only two countries, with their fate having been controlled and determined by only twelve people, one would think it doesn’t leave much room for mistake, or misjudgment. Maybe we should take a closer look.

Just how careful is our judicial system when it comes to determining other people’s fate? Just how effective is the Death Penalty where it is carried out? And, just how moral is the Death Penalty when it comes to upholding the moral standards that we impose on out society today? The facts are alarming. In New Jersey in 1984, Teddy Rose, and twenty-one year old man with no past record, shot a cop out of panic during a burglary. The police officer died, and Teddy Rose’s fate was a shaky one. One month later, Douglas Parsons, a twenty-one year old man living in New Jersey, with a past record of illegal drug use and sale, shot a cop out of panic during burglary. The police officer died.

Parson’s fate was now a shaky one. One year later, both cases were tried-Teddy Rose was sentenced to death, and Douglas Parsons was sentenced to thirty years in prison with no parole. These cases were almost identical, except for the defendant’s backgrounds, yet the outcome of the two cases were drastically different. Rose, with no previous record was condemned to die, and Parson’s, with a previous police record, was getting off quite easy compared to his opponent, (so-to-speak). How is this possible? In the Landmark case of Fuman verses Georgia, which also took place in New Jersey, the Supreme Court declared the Death Penalty “as unpredictable as being struck by lighting”(Films for Humanities), and in 1972 passed a bill stating that the Death Penalty must be fair and predictable.

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Is this 1984 case an example of that? It is also a fact that within different states, the Death Penalty is handled differently. The same crime in state one may not be creeded the same way in state two. The criminal justice system for one state may be more over burdened. Perhaps they may not have enough attorneys to administer the Death Penalty. Does this seem fair between states? Let’s examine the main reasons that states carry out the Death Penalty.

Our courts seem to feel very strongly about it, or so we are led to believe. Two reasons are stated in the Films for Humanities version of The Death Penalty. Our prisons are overcrowded and it helps reduce crime. The Film also suggests that in New Jersey, the Death Penalty has neither reduced crime there, nor eliminated over-crowdedness within the prisons. Reports of 438 persons executed in Texas since the Electric Chair was installed concludes that the Death Penalty has been applied in a discriminatory fashion and has not reduced crime rates at all. (Randelet and Vandiver, 120) This particular sentence does not seem to be doing what our courts had in mind.

It seems as though it is actually backfiring in some respects. In 1932, Linberg, a German immigrant, was tried and convicted of his two-year old son’s murder. He was sentenced to death and later, after his sentence was carried out, his innocence was questioned. (Films for Humanities) In 1950, Timothy Evans was executed for the murder of his daughter. In the course of his trial, he accused a man by the name of John Christie for the murder of not only his daughter, but also his wife.

His accusations were overlooked, and he was put to death anyway. Christie was subsequently found to have murdered six women, four of which he sexually assaulted beforehand. During his trial, he admitted to the murders of Timothy Evan’s daughter and his wife. Evans was granted a posthumous pardon, which is basically a pardon come too late. (Sorell, 47) This, however, did not bring Evans back to life. Evan’s life was wasted due to a bad jury, or perhaps a bad defense. It is true that the more money you have the better defense you will receive. According to the Films for Humanities, most of the people that sit on death row are poor. They can not afford to hire an experienced, private lawyer.

They get what they pay for. Does this seem fair? Pawsey, a Death Penalty supporter feels it is fair. He states in Tom Sorell’s Moral Theory and Capital Punishment that, “it is justifiable if the number of innocent lives saved by Capital Punishment is greater than the number of innocent lives lost through wrongful conviction and execution”. (47) Is this so though? We have already examined states whose crime rates have not decreased. John Maxton, a Capital Punishment abolitionist, argues with Pawsey and says, “if we allow one innocent person to be executed, morally we are committing the same, or, in some ways, a worse crime than the person who committed the murder”.

(Sorell, 47) Are we that powerful and overpopulated, that we can justify killing an innocent person in our courts to hopefully stop crime other places? Do we really have the authority to dismiss a life by mistake, and move on under the same principles by that which, at times, fails us? These do not seem like good moral standards that we should live by. “A practical policy which violates the moral law is not truly practical and will prove inexpedient in the end” (Calvert, 171) I could not agree with this statement more. You would probably find that most people would agree with this statement, yet they do not always apply it to everyday policies and procedures that we live by. Just how moral is the Death Penalty? I feel as though it contradicts the moral ethics we try to live by and raise our kids by. I feel that “social conduct should be based upon an ethical concept”(Calvert, 172), and Capital Punishment is not ethical.

When we as a society kill someone for killing someone else, or hurting someone else, we are no better than they are. It is like telling your child that hitting is wrong and solves nothing, and then slapping them everytime they do someth …


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