Each year there are about 250 people added to the death row and 35 executed. The death penalty is one of the harshest forms of punishment enforced in the United States today. Once a jury has convicted a criminal, of an offense they go to the second part of the trial, the punishment phase. If the jury recommends the death penalty and the judge agrees then the criminal will face some form of execution. Lethal injection is the most common form of execution used today. There was a period from 1972 to 1976 that capital punishment was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Their reason for this decision was that the death penalty was cruel and unusual punishment under the eighth amendment. The decision was reversed when new methods of execution were introduced.
I am opposed to capital punishment because I don’t think that it is right to execute someone for making one or two wrong decisions. Capital Punishment is cruel and unusual punishment. There also is a possibility of innocent death and it doesn’t deter crime. The strongest argument against capital punishment is the argument capital punishment is cruel and unusual punishment. The Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution, condemning cruel and unusual punishment, is used to protest Capital Punishment. The fallacy of this argument is that it appears to be a red herring augment, one that takes attention away from the facts of the case. When the Constitution was drafted, capital punishment was practiced widely in this country, yet it was not specified as wrong. Many of the framers of the constitution endorsed capital punishment, as did the philosophers that which the constitution draws from.
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John Lock went to say that murder is not wrong. So how can murder be immoral? Citizens under social contract agree not to kill only because others also agree not to kill. It is the function of penal laws to prevent murder by demonstrating to everyone that it is not in their best interest to murder. Contrary to popular belief, the death penalty does not act as a deterrent to crime. Expert after expert and study after study show that the lack of correlation between the threat of the death penalty and the occurrence of crime. One study shows that in 1957, the first year the death penalty was used, there were 8,060 murders. However, in the last year the study was conducted there were 22,520 murders and only 1 execution was performed. The absence of deterrence is clearly shown.
There also is the fact that a person that is sentenced to the death penalty could be innocent. In the last one hundred years, there have been more than 75 documented cases of the wrongful conviction of criminal homicide. Out of these people sentenced to the death penalty, 8 of them were executed. Many other cases of mistaken convictions and execution occurred and remained undocumented. The catch is that every reduction in the elaborate legal process that has evolved to ensure that only the guilty die increases the chances that an innocent person will be subjected to the most irreversible and final punishment. A prisoner discovered to be blameless can be freed, but neither release nor compensation is possible for a corpse.
The belief that execution is less than imprisonment is false. The cost to apparatus and maintenance of the procedures attending the death penalty, including death row and the endless appeals and legal machinery, far outweighs the expense of maintaining in prison the tiny fraction of criminals who would otherwise be slain. Capital Punishment is wrong morally because it is cruel and inhumane taking of human life. The methods by which executions are carried out can involve physical torture. Capital punishment is a euphemism for legally killing people and no one not even the state has the authority to play God.
The death penalty has been a gross failure. Beyond its horror and incivility, it has neither protected the innocent nor deterred the wicked. The recurrent spectacle of public sanctioned killing has cheapened human life and dignity without the redeeming grace that comes from justice meted out swiftly, evenly, humanely. So I tell you that I am against capital punishment. So, now I hope you feel the same as I do about Capital Punishment. Because now you know that Capital Punishment is cruel and unusual, the innocent may be killed for no reason and it doesn’t deter crime.