In a society where there is so much violent crime.
We look for a way to try to ensure our safety and protect the ones we love. We use many forms of punishment as a way to deter crime. The most extreme of these is the death penalty it is final and leaves no way to correct any mistakes if made.
The death penalty is not the answer to violent crimes; it is a very old form of punishment that offers no deterrent to crime. ???There can no longer be any doubt that an innocent person has been executed. The question now turns to how we can stop it from happening again” (Scheck, 2009).The death penalty being used as a form of punishment has been in use before written records. They may ask how we know without written records. We know because of the stories that have been passed down through time from generation to generation. Many written records of the use of the death penalty and how it was used in history have been found.
King Hammurabi a Babylon king penned a code, the law of his time that, which made death the punishment for 25 crimes. This was one of the first recorded uses of the death penalty but there was something unusual about the king??™s code murder was not one of the crimes that death was the penalty. In the 7th Century the Draconian Code of Athens made death the death the penalty for every crime.
In the Roman Empire the death penalty came in to the record books as a casual form of punishment carried out in many ways, crucifixion, drowning at sea, beating to death and impalement were some of the forms used (Riggio, 1995-2010).In Britain in the 1700 s there were 220 crimes that death was the punishment. In 1823 laws were in acted that exempting over a hundred crimes from the death penalty. In the next few years many more crimes were removed from the list of crimes that one could be put to death for.1840 was the year that the first attempt to abolish the death penalty in then Britain now the United Kingdom (Riggio, 1995-2010).When the British came to the new world they brought their laws with them. The first legal execution in the new world the English American colony was in 1608.
George Kendall was put to death for treason against the British to the Spanish. This was the beginning in the new world. Back in the old world the cries to stop the killing by the states were going from whispers to a loud roar (Riggio, 1995-2010).On Crimes and Punishment, published in English in 1767 by the Italian jurist Cesare Beccaria, whose exposition on abolishing capital punishment was the most influential of the time, had an especially strong impact. He theorized that there was no justification for the taking of life by the state. He said that the death penalty was “a war of a whole nation against a citizen, whose destruction they consider as necessary, or useful to the general good.” He asked the question what if it can be shown not to be necessary or useful His essay conceded that the only time a death was necessary was when only ones death could insure the security of a nation — which would be rare and only in cases of absolute anarchy or when a nation was on the verge of losing its liberty. He said that the history of using punishment by death (e.
g., the Romans, 20 years of Czaress Elizabeth) had not prevented determined men from injuring society and that death was only a “momentary spectacle, and therefore a less efficacious method of deterring others, than the continued example of a man deprived of his liberty (Riggio, 1995-2010).The push to reform the death penalty had begun and it would gain some momentum and would slow the deaths in the 1800s.
New laws were passed against mandatory death sentences.On June 29, 1972 in the case Furman v. Georgia. In nine separate opinions, but with a majority of 5-4, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the way capital punishment laws were written, including discriminatory sentencing guidelines, capital punishment was cruel and unusual and violated the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. This effectively ended capital punishment in the United States (Riggio, 1995-2010).
On May 20, 1998 the House of Commons voted to ratify the 6th protocol of the European Convention on Human Rights prohibiting capital punishment. The war over the death penalty was over or was it (Riggio, 1995-2010) The death penalty began in Europe and in our life time it has ended there. The legacy of what started in Europe continues in the United States.
By early 1975 30 states had passed new laws and again there were prisoners on death row awaiting their fate. In 1976 Georgia??™s new law was challenged in Gregg v. Georgia and was upheld by the Supreme Court, and here we are with thirty-seven states with the death penalty and five methods of execution (Riggio, 1995-2010).Why do we have the death penalty is it to deter crime or is just for revenge An eye for eye and tooth for tooth some say is the base for the death penalty. Studies reveal that the death penalty has a significant deterrent effect. A leading study published in the American Law and Economics Review collected data from 3,054 counties over a 20-year period. Using sophisticated multiple regression analysis; the study concluded that, on average, each execution results in 18 less murder.
These studies contend that if we stopped the death penalty the consequences would be the loss of more innocent lives (, 2010). Using raw data from the United States Department of Justice it has been claimed that when executions goes down homicide rates goes up (Johansen 2002).I understand the argument above but do we have the right to take a life of anyone for any reason. The United States is now the capital of the death penalty in what we call the civilize world. The use of the death penalty in the United States has made extradition from other countries at times difficult. When the crime could have the death penalty as punishment many other countries require the United States to ensure that the death penalty not be used before they agree to extradition. ???We have killed 1,203 since 1976 and there are 3,263 on death row awaiting their fate??? (, 2010).
Texas has the honor of the most executions with 405 with more than 300 on death row but sit still has a high murder rate which asks is it working as a deterrent. The murder rate in Texas is 5.6% (per 100,000 People) on the other hand, there is Hawaii that has no death penalty and its murder rate is 1.
9%. This is proof that the death penalty is not a deterrent as so many claims (, 2010).Many who supported the death penalty have changed their minds and have made profound statements against this form of punishment. Among the most profound words against the death penalty are those of Justice Harry Blackmun a member of the highest court in the land gives weight to the argument for the abolishment of this form of punishment. I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death. For more than 20 years I have endeavored..
.to develop…rules that would lend more than the mere appearance of fairness to the death penalty endeavor.
..Rather than continue to coddle the courts delusion that the desired level of fairness has been achieved…I feel..
.obligated simply to concede that the death penalty experiment has failed. It is virtually self-evident to me now that no combination of procedural rules or substantive regulations ever can save the death penalty from its inherent constitutional deficiencies…
Perhaps one day this court will develop procedural rules or verbal formulas that actually will provide consistency, fairness and reliability in a capital-sentencing scheme. I am not optimistic that such a day will come. I am more optimistic, though, that this court eventually will conclude that the effort to eliminate arbitrariness while preserving fairness in the infliction of [death] is so plainly doomed to failure that it and the death penalty must be abandoned altogether. (Godfrey v. Georgia, 1980) I may not live to see that day, but I have faith that eventually it will arrive.
The path the court has chosen lessens us all (Hintze, 2006).We in America are working hard to become a perfect society and for a long time we have been trying to find a way to improve the way we practice the death penalty. Most of the world have given up on it as a failure as a punishment, but we are determined to make it work. We are such a different people that we can??™t even agree on one method of execution, some states allow condemn persons to choose how they die. Below are the method offered as forms of executions.In the United States 37 of the 50 states along with the Federal Government have the death penalty as a form of punishment; they use five methods of execution they are pictured below.Methods of Execution in the United States As noted above 37 of the 50 states along with the Federal Government have the death penalty as a form of punishment; they use five methods of execution, in the chart below is an outline of how many states use what form of execution.Methods of Execution in the United States From left to right first row: Lethal injection table, Electric chair, Gas chamber,From left to right second row: Gallows used for hanging, Chair used for firing squad.
The death penalty cost the American people millions, the cost of maintaining the death instruments above and in the cost of the trials themselves, According to Ross 2010 ???In California the cost is almost six times as much to take to trial a capital case as it would to imprison someone in a single cell at the highest security for their life???. Each death penalty case costs at least $1 million to prosecute at both the trial and the appellate levels. Only two executions have been carried out in California since 1967, but it is believed that the cost to taxpayers has exceeded a billion dollars during the past eighteen years of legal and political battles over the death penalty issue itself (Ross, 2010). In 1993 in the case of Leonel Herrera a former Texas judge submitted an affidavit that someone other than Herrera had confessed to the crime that he was facing execution for. Along with the confession there was other evidence that would cast doubt (Recinella, 2010). In a land built on equal rights for all and the principle that your guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to lose ones freedom, the highest court in our land said??? It could not be concerned with factual innocence. It could address only procedural violations.
Herrera was executed (Recinella, 2010). We have the death penalty to deter evil but have we become evil in the use of it How can we not do what is right. Herrera was one of us and we let him down and denied him the dream we are trying so hard to protect. He was not the first and will not be the last innocent person put to death.There is no way that the death penalty can be used without the chance that an innocent person will be put to death. Can we risk it We have released more than 100 people from what would have been the ultimate nightmare.
According to Amnesty International USA (2010), ???until I can be sure with moral certainty that no innocent man or woman is facing a lethal injection, no one will meet that fate.” This statement by Governor George Ryan came after the 13th Illinois prisoner was released from death row because of wrongful conviction. The death penalty is not the answer.ReferenceAmnesty International USA. (2010). Death Penalty and Innocence. Retrieved from http://www.amnestyusa.
org/death-penalty/death-penalty-facts/death-penalty-and-innocence/page.doid=1101086HINTZE, M. (2006). Tinkering with the machinery of death.
JUDICATURE. Retrieved from http://www.ajs.org/ajs/publications/Judicature_PDFs/895/Hintze_895.pdfJohansen, Jay.
“The Death Penalty Deters Crime.” Opposing Viewpoints: The Death Penalty. Ed. Mary E. Williams. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2002. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center.
Gale. Apollo Library-Univ of Phoenix. 22 May.2010 Retrieved from http://find.galegroup.
Recinella, Dale S. “The Evidence of Innocence Is Often Withheld in Death Penalty Cases.” Current Controversies: Capital Punishment. Ed. Paul Connors. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2008. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale.
Apollo Library-Univ of Phoenix. 22 May 2010 Retrieved from http://find.galegroup.com.
ezproxy.apollolibrary.com/ovrc/infomark.do&contentSet=GSRC&type=retrieve&tabID=T010&prodId=OVRC&docId=EJ3010036288&source=gale&srcprod=OVRCRoss, Michael. “The Death Penalty Is Too Expensive.” Opposing Viewpoints: The Death Penalty.
Ed. Paul A. Winters.
San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1997. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale. Apollo Library-Univ of Phoenix. 22 May 2010. Retrieved from http://find.galegroup.
do&contentSet=GSRC&type=retrieve&tabID=T010&prodId=OVRC&docId=EJ3010124228&source=gale&srcprod=OVRC&userGroupName=uphoenix&version=1.0>.The Clark County Persecuting Attorney. (2008). The Death Penalty.
Retrieved from http://www.clarkprosecutor.org/html/death/dpusa.
htmThe Innocence Project. (2009). Death penalty focus.
Retrieved from http://www.deathpenalty.org/article.phpid=388(2010). The Death Penalty Information Center. Retrieved from http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/costs-death-penalty