The Death Penalty, is it really worth itPHI 200Lisa LinkinDecember 19, 2011The death penalty has been around for thousands of years. The United States adopted capital punishment from English Common Law when they declared their independence in 1775.
The Fifth Amendment says that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of the law. In 1976 the U.S. Supreme court adopted the new form of the death penalty process. The accused would have one trail to determine guilt and then a second trail to determine the sentence of the accused. Currently 38 states use this form of capital punishment; the others do not have any form of the death penalty. Today in America the question is. Is the death penalty still worth using in America The California Penal Code Refers to murder in section 187 Murder defined.
?????™(a) Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought. (b) This section shall not apply to any person who commits an act that results in the death of a fetus if any of the following apply:(1) The act complied with the Therapeutic Abortion Act, Article 2 (commencing with Section 123400) of Chapter 2 of Part 2 of Division 106 of the Health and Safety Code. (2) The act was committed by a holder of a physicians and surgeons certificate, as defined in the Business and Professions Code, in a case where, to a medical certainty, the result of childbirth would be death of the mother of the fetus or where her death from childbirth, although not medically certain, would be substantially certain or more likely than not. (3) The act was solicited, aided, abetted, or consented to by the mother of the fetus.
(c) Subdivision (b) shall not be construed to prohibit the prosecution of any person under any other provision of law??™??™(California Penal Code, 2010). And in section 190 the Penal Code gives the punishment for murder. ???(a) Every person guilty of murder in the first degree shall be punished by death, imprisonment in the state prison for life without the possibility of parole, or imprisonment in the state prison for a term of 25 years to life. (d), every person guilty of murder in the second degree shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a term of 15 years to life (California Penal Code, 2010). As you can see the crime has been laid out very specific of what murder is and how it is committed. Also the punishment for this is laid out very specific. With these two things in mind we now know how the law sees what murder is and what it has planned for those who decide to break this law. Now working in law enforcement the only thing that I personally have found that is interesting about the death penalty process is that there are two trials in a death penalty case.
The first trial the jury decides if the defendant is guilty of murder. The second trail the jury decides if the defendant should be put to death. Now during jury selection one of the questions asked to jury prospects is if they found the defendant guilty of murder could they give him the death penalty in the second trial. It??™s a yes or no answer. Unfortunately I have seen many jurors say they could do this but then when it came down to it they could not commit a man to his death. Now that just may say something about that person that they have respect for human life or could not live with that on their conscious.
But I feel that if you have committed murder and fit all the statutes of the law then you should be put to death. There are two very important Supreme Court cases dealing with the death penalty. In 1972, in the case of Furman vs. Georgia, the Supreme Court ruled that under then existing laws, “the imposition and carrying out of the death penalty…constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.
” And in 1976 in the case of Gregg vs. Georgia, the Supreme Court shifted direction and ruled, “the punishment of death does not invariably violate the Constitution”. The Court ruled that these new statutes contained “objective standards to guide, regularize, and make rationally reviewable the process of imposing the sentence of death” (Bedau, 1992). There are many different reasons people are for or against the death penalty. Some people just plainly believe that if you kill another human you deserve to die. While others believe that does taking another persons life justify the punishment When someone takes another persons life by murder, they have broken more than just a law written by the government, they have broken the law of God.
Now whether you believe in God are your own beliefs, but God gave us a commandment. In Exodus 20:13 (New King James Version) ??? You shall not murder???, pretty plain and simple. I believe that when you murder another human you forfeit or sacrifice your right to live. Now all crimes are bad but murder is one of the worst crimes a person can commit and it deserves the worst penalty. The death penalty is the greatest deterrent to murder. If people know that they will be punished by death, they will be less likely to commit crimes and kill. Since 1976 there have been 1,277 executions and there are currently 3,251 people on death row in the U.S.
that have not been executed (deathpenaltyinfo.org, 2011). Some say that more than 20,000 murders that take place each year could have been prevented if criminals believed they would be executed for their crimes. Murders pose a threat to everyone in our society and should be isolated from society. The death penalty guarantees that murders will not kill again.
Life imprisonment does not guarantee that. The argument against the death penalty is just as strong as the one for it. Now two wrongs do not make a right. I can??™t count how many times I heard that from my parents.
Murder is murder and it is wrong on all levels of society no matter what, even if it is ruled constitutional. In the society that we live in, is the notion of “an eye for an eye” acceptable Should the punishment for a battery, be battery Or for rape, should it be rape One of the governments jobs is to protect its citizens, but how is killing someone not murder Now some addicts against the death penalty say that crimes are committed on the spur of the moment or in the heat of passion, and the person is usually either under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Therefore, most do not think about the consequences of their wrongful actions. States that have death penalty laws in place do not have lower crime rates or murder rates than states without such laws. And states that have abolished capital punishment show no changes in either crime or murder rates.
The ACLU states, ???capital punishment is an intolerable denial of civil liberties. They feel that the death penalty essentially violates the constitutional ban against cruel and unusual punishment and the guarantee of due process of law and the equal protection of the laws. The state should not take unto itself the right to kill human beings, especially when it kills with premeditation and ceremony, under color of law, in our names, and when it does so in an arbitrary and discriminatory fashion” (Bedau, 1992).
Unfortunately criminals have been wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death. A report revealed that between 1973-2011, 139 people in 26 states have been wrongfully convicted of capital offenses and have been exonerated. Unfortunately, twenty-three of 139 people wrongfully convicted, were executed before the evidence showed their innocence (deathpenaltyinfo.
org, 2011).One of the major issues of the death penalty is it cost affective. Every study carried out and completed has shown that it is far more expensive to put someone to death than to jail him for life. Two Duke University professors calculated that between the extra costs of litigation, and of housing and guarding the inmates as they wait on death row, the extra cost to taxpayers was $2.2 million per execution. In 2010, in California there were 169,413 people in prison, 748 of those on death row. It costs $47,102 per year to house each regular prisoner in California. Housing a death row inmate costs $90,000 per year.
So if you were to do the math and say each prisoner lived 40 years, the average cost of the prisoner on death row is $3,600,000. The cost of the regular prisoner serving a life sentence would be $1,884,080, just about half of the death row inmate. If you abolished the death penalty you would save the state over $68 and half Billion dollars in that 40 year period.
California death penalty trials cost an estimated $1.1 million more than a trial where the District Attorney seeks a sentence of permanent imprisonment. Unlike post-conviction costs funded by the state budget, trial expenses are borne largely from county budgets. Funding for post-conviction prosecution and defense attorneys costs $85,000 per death row inmate per year. Inmates sentenced to permanent imprisonment are not afforded mandatory appeals. Death penalty trials cost local taxpayers an additional $20 million per year, at the current death-sentencing rate of 20 sentences per year. In total, the death penalty system cost California taxpayers $137 million each year, the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice found, whereas permanent imprisonment for all those currently on death row would cost just $11 million (Amnestyusa.
org, 2010). Now on the other hand if we spend all this money on the death penalty, do executions deter murder Yes they do, according to research during the temporary suspension on capital punishment from 1972-1976, researchers gathered murder statistics across the country. In 1960, there were 56 executions in the USA and 9,140 murders. By 1964, when there were only 15 executions, the number of murders had risen to 9,250.
In 1969, there were no executions and 14,590 murders, and 1975, after six more years without executions, 20,510 murders occurred rising to 23,040 in 1980 after only two executions since 1976. In summary, between 1965 and 1980, the number of annual murders in the United States skyrocketed from 9,960 to 23,040, a 131 percent increase. The murder rate — homicides per 100,000 persons — doubled from 5.1 to 10.2.
So the number of murders grew as the number of executions shrank. From 1995 to 2000, executions averaged 71 per year, a 21,000 percent increase over the 1966-1980 period. The murder rate dropped from a high of 10.2 (per 100,000) in 1980 to 5.
7 in 1999 — a 44 percent reduction. The murder rate is now at its lowest level since 1966 (Wesleylowe.com, 2011).
The most striking evidence of protection of innocent life has been seen in Texas, which executes more murderers than any other state. According to JFA (Justice for All), the Texas murder rate in 1991 was 15.3 per 100,000. By 1999, it had fallen to 6.
1 — a drop of 60 percent. Within Texas, the most aggressive death penalty prosecutions are in Harris County (the Houston area). Since the renewal of executions in 1982, the annual number of Harris County murders has plummeted from 701 to 241 — a 72 percent decrease (jfa.net, 2008).Now I personally am for the death penalty, I believe that it you take someone??™s life and are found guilty of murder in a jury of you pears that you should be executed in a timely manor.
Now saying that I live in the great state of California, we currently have a death penalty law in place. But in 2006 the legislators ruled that our death penalty chamber is not up to standards. Therefore we are not executing anyone at this time. Currently the cost of a new death chamber would run around 400 million dollars.
To me is this cost really worth it As a state we a laying off Police and Teachers so do we really have the money for a 400 million dollar expense I say no we don??™t. As much as we need the death penalty, at this time in California we do not need the cost of it. I believe that if we would spend more time and money on education with our children specifically 10-14 year olds that we could curve the culture of crime in general in our nation. Now that being said as soon as we can afford the expense of a new chamber we need to build it and use it.
So far this year (2011) the city of Stockton, CA has recently set a new record. A record all cities would not want. The record they set is that they are the highest murder rate per population of the city. Currently there population is 291,707 (2010 US census). It??™s the 13th largest city in California and the 65th largest in the U.
S. The current murder rate is 1.1 with 57 murders so far this year, with two weeks to go they may unfortunately have more. Now would a strong death penalty in California deter these murders We will never know. But on the other hand maybe it would have deterred a few of these murders. And if it did do that is it worth the tax dollars that would be spent on it. I think so.
Now if we could ask the victims of a murderer I sure they would almost all say that they are for the death penalty, but we will never know. I personally am for the death penalty. I believe in an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. So I feel that if you take someone??™s life you deserve to have your life taken through the death penalty. As a tax paying citizen it is hard for me to see these numbers that it cost us each year in California for a system that we currently do not use. So again the question is, is the death penalty still worth using in America References:Amnesty.org. (2010).
Death Penalty costs. Retrieved from http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/issues/death-penaltyBedau, H.
A. (1992). The Case Against The Death Penalty. Retrieved from http://www.aclu.org/ California Legislative. (2010).
California Penal Code. California: Thomson west.DeathPenaltyinfo.org. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.
deathpenaltyinfo.org/documents/FactSheet.pdfJustice For All, (2008). Death Penalty Information.
Retrieved from http://www.jfa.net/Wesleylowe.
com. (2011). Pro Death Penalty Webpage. Retrieved from http://wesleylowe.com/cp.html