Capital Pumishment Essay

This essay has a total of 1445 words and 9 pages.

Capital Pumishment






Capital Punishment - Injustice of Society





The state of the public's satisfaction in the ways of capital sentencing does not
constitute serving justice. Today's system of capital punishment is fought with
inequalities and injustices. The commonly offered arguments for the death penalty are
filled with holes. "It was a deterrent. It removed killers. It was the ultimate
punishment. It is biblical. It satisfied the public's need for retribution. It relieved
the anguish of the victim's family."(Grisham 120) Realistically, imposing the death
penalty is expensive and is very time consuming. However, it has yet to be proven as a
deterrent. Morally, it is the continuation of the cycle of violence and "...degrades all
who are involved in its enforcement, as well as its victim."(Stewart 1)


Perhaps the most frequent argument for capital punishment is that of deterrence. The
prevailing thought is that having the death penalty will act to dissuade other criminals
from committing violent acts. Numerous studies have been created attemps to prove this
belief; however, "[a]ll the evidence taken together makes it hard to be confident that
capital punishment deters more than long prison terms do."(Cavanagh 4) Going ever farther,
Bryan Stevenson, the executive director of The Montgomery based Equal Justice Initiative,
has stated that "…people are increasingly realizing that the more we resort to killing
as a legitimate response to our frustration and anger with violence, the more violent our
society becomes…We could execute all three thousand people on death row, and most people
would not feel any safer tomorrow."(Frame 51) In addition, with the growing
humanitarianism of modern society, the number of inmates actually put to death is
substantially lower than 50 years ago. This decline creates a situation in which the




death penalty is deterrent when people begin to think that one can get away with a crime
and go unpunished. Also, the less that the death sentence is used, the more it becomes
unusual, thus coming in conflict with the eighth amendment. The end result is a punishment
that is obsolete to discourage crime at all.


The key part of the death penalty is that it involves death -- something which is rather
permanent for humans, due to the concept of mortality. This creates a major problem when
"…there continue to be many instances of innocent people being sentenced to
death."(Tabak 38) In our legal system, there exist numerous ways in which justice might be
poorly served for a recipient of the death sentence. Foremost is in the handling of his
own defense counsel. In the event that a defendant is without counsel, a lawyer will be
provided. "Attorney's appointed to represent indigent capital defendants frequently lack
the qualities necessary to provide a competent defense and sometimes have exhibited such
poor character that they have subsequently been disbarred."(Tabak 37). With payment caps
or court determined sums of, for example, $5 an hour, there is not much of an incentive
for a lawyer to spend a great deal of time representing a capital defendant. When you
compare this to the prosecution, "…aided by the police, other law enforcement agencies,
crime labs, state mental hospitals, various other scientific resources, prosecutors
…experienced in successfully handling capital cases, compulsory process, and grand
juries…"(Tabak 37), the defense that the court appointed counsel can offer is very
small. In fact, if a defendant has a valid case to offer, what is the chance he has to
offer it and have it properly recognized? Furthermore, why should he be punished for an
injustice that was created by the court itself if appointed the incapable lawyer?


Even if a defendant has proper legal counsel, there is still the matter of impartiality of



judges. "The Supreme Court has steadily reduced the availability of habeas corpus review
of capital convictions, placing its confidence in the notion that state judges, who take
the same oath of office as federal judges to uphold the Constitution, can be trusted to
enforce it."(Bright 768) This makes for the biased trying of a defendant's appeals,
"…given the huge pressure on elected state judges to heed, and perhaps even lead to, the
popular cries for the death of criminal defendants."(Bright 769) Thirty two of the states
that impose the death penalty also employ the popular election of judges. This creates a
deeply political justice system -- the words alone are a paradox. Can society simply brush
off mistaken execution as an incidental cost in the greater scheme of putting a criminal
to death?


"Revenge is an unworthy motive for our society to pursue."(Whittier 1) In our society,
there is a great expectation placed on the family of a victim to pursue vengeance to the
highest degree -- the death penalty. Pat Bane, executive director of the Murder Victims
Families for Reconciliation (MVFR), stated, "One parent told me that people made her feel
like she was betraying her son because she did not want to kill the person who murdered
him."(Frame 50) This creates a dilemma of morality. If anything, by forcing families to
seek the death penalty, their own consciences will be burdened by the death of the killer.
Continues for 5 more pages >>




  • ALCATRAZ ISLAND AND PRISON
    ALCATRAZ ISLAND AND PRISON Alcatraz Island has quite a distinct history. Many people know that Alcatraz served as a federal prison, but most are reluctant to know that this island served as fort. Built before the Civil War, it served two main purposes. First, that it was to guard the San Francisco bay area from enemy ships against a foreign invasion, and second, to hold hostage prisoners of war or POW\'s as they were called. In this report, I\'ll show you how this fortress came to be a federal p
  • Capital punishment misc12
    Capital punishment misc12 The topic I chose for my research paper is Capital punishment. I chose this topic because I think Capital punishment should be banned in all states. The death penalty violates religious beliefs about killing, remains unfair to minorities and is therefore unconstitutional, and is inhumane and barbaric. The death penalty constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments (Bedau 2). Those who had shown no respect for life would be
  • Capitol punishment misc9
    Capitol punishment misc9 Capital Punishment The Argument Against the Death Penalty The feeling of the condemned man was indescribable, as he was minutes away from being executed by an unjust decision. The verdict of his case was guilty on the grounds of circumstantial evidence. When in all reality, he was guilty because he was black, poor and socially unacceptable. His case never stood a chance, it was over before it started. The judge and jury sentence the man to die in the electric chair. The
  • Capitol punishment
    Capitol punishment Capital Punishment The Argument Against the Death Penalty The feeling of the condemned man was indescribable, as he was minutes away from being executed by an unjust decision. The verdict of his case was guilty on the grounds of circumstantial evidence. When in all reality, he was guilty because he was black, poor and socially unacceptable. His case never stood a chance, it was over before it started. The judge and jury sentence the man to die in the electric chair. The condem
  • Capitol punishment
    Capitol punishment Capital Punishment The Argument Against the Death Penalty The feeling of the condemned man was indescribable, as he was minutes away from being executed by an unjust decision. The verdict of his case was guilty on the grounds of circumstantial evidence. When in all reality, he was guilty because he was black, poor and socially unacceptable. His case never stood a chance, it was over before it started. The judge and jury sentence the man to die in the electric chair. The condem
  • Capi
    Capi The feeling of the condemned man was indescribable, as he was minutes away from being executed by an unjust decision. The verdict of his case was guilty on the grounds of circumstantial evidence. When in all reality, he was guilty because he was black, poor and socially unacceptable. His case never stood a chance, it was over before it started. The judge and jury sentence the man to die in the electric chair. The condemned man sat in the chair sweating profusely, waiting for a someone to w
  • Chain Gangs
    Chain Gangs Prisons have been used as the way of punishment in the United States since its beginning. Throughout the history of prisons, convicts have been used as labor. The methods of labor, the number of laborers, and the arguments for or against has constantly been changing. From the early chain gangs to the prison industries of today, prisoners have been used as labor in the United States. When people think of chain gangs, they usually think of people in white and black stripes, being forc
  • Great Expectations: The World Of Laws, Crime And P
    Great Expectations: The World Of Laws, Crime And Punishment The World of Laws, Crime and Punishment in Great Expectations Great Expectations criticises the Victorian judicial and penal system. Through the novel, Charles Dickens displays his point of view of criminality and punishment. This is shown in his portraits of all pieces of such system: the lawyer, the clerk, the judge, the prison authorities and the convicts. In treating the theme of the Victorian system of punishment, Dickens shows his
  • Im not sure
    im not sure Capitol punishment Capital Punishment The Argument Against the Death Penalty The feeling of the condemned man was indescribable, as he was minutes away from being executed by an unjust decision. The verdict of his case was guilty on the grounds of circumstantial evidence. When in all reality, he was guilty because he was black, poor and socially unacceptable. His case never stood a chance, it was over before it started. The judge and jury sentence the man to die in the electric chair
  • Hellno
    hellno n the development and extension of Formal Control (characteristic of modern societies), (Rational Systems), Control through Technology), (Irrationality of Rationality). Value-Oriented (like conflict theory)== create a more human(e) system. Stanley Cohen: The Fishing Net (Totally Administered Society) Control mechanisms (police, welfare, MI, etc) constantly sweeping through society, catching, processing (tagging, labeling) and recycling populations (Spitzer) The New Penology : One reason f
  • Prison Reform In America
    Prison Reform In America Prison Reform in America In the essay Prison Reform in America, Roger T. Pray points out the much attention that has been devoted to research to help prevent crimes. Showing criminals the errors of their ways not by brutal punishment, but by locking them up in the attempt to reform them. Robert Pray, who is a prison psychologist, is currently a researcher with the Utah Dept. of Corrections. He has seen what has become of our prison system and easily shows us that there i
  • Law & order
    law & order From Journal of Social Studies Vol. II, No. 1, Spring 1940 By Benjamin B. Ferencz Criminal law and criminology have, for the past several years, been confronted with a problem that reaches the very foundations and basic philosophies underlying the study and treatment of social offenders. Simply, the controversy revolves about the question; "Shall the main concern underlying penal treatment be the matter of the offense committed, or the person offending?" Representing the extreme posi
  • Alcatraz
    Alcatraz Alcatraz Island has quite a distinct history. Many people know that Alcatraz served as a federal prison, but most are reluctant to know that this island served as fort. Built before the Civil War, it served two main purposes. First, that it was to guard the San Francisco bay area from enemy ships against a foreign invasion, and second, to hold hostage prisoners of war or POW\'s as they were called. In this report, I\'ll show you how this fortress came to be a federal prison, why it is n
  • Great Expectations: the world of laws, crime and p
    Great Expectations: the world of laws, crime and punishment The World of Laws, Crime and Punishment in Great Expectations Great Expectations criticises the Victorian judicial and penal system. Through the novel, Charles Dickens displays his point of view of criminality and punishment. This is shown in his portraits of all pieces of such system: the lawyer, the clerk, the judge, the prison authorities and the convicts. In treating the theme of the Victorian system of punishment, Dickens shows his