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 wake him from this nightmare. A certain death awaited this young mans future. He could not believe that a country like ours upheld a system of such unfairness. Then as he was executed, he shouted his last plea, I am innocent, please wait... How can this innocent man be put to death in a system based on fairness, and a theory of innocent until proven guilty. There have been circumstances such as this, that were said to be true. This is one example why capital punishment should be abolished in our country. Or should it? Is capital punishment fair, and based on equality? Does it cost less than other alternatives? Is it considered cruel and unusual punishment? And does the presence of the death penalty deter crime? These are questions that need to be answered to determine whether capital punishment should be abolished or maintained in our society.
To start, capital punishment is a racist and unfair solution for the criminals in our system. It discriminates toward individuals on the basis of their race, wealth or social standing in society. It is not right to kill nineteen men a year out of hundreds and hundreds of convicted murderers. These men are not being killed because they committed murder. They are being killed because they are poor, black, ugly or all of these things. As capital punishment becomes less and less likely to be applied, it becomes more likely to be used in discrimination against those who have no money to afford a good lawyer, those who are poor and powerless, personally ugly and socially unacceptable.
Since 1930, 89 percent of those executed in the United States for rape have been black, as were 76 percent of those executed for robbery, 85.5 percent of those executed for assault by life-term prisoner, 48.9 percent of those executed for murder, 100 percent of those executed for burglary. All together, 53.5 percent of those we have put to death in this Nation since 1930 have been black (Bedau).
Study after study turns up the same results, one can conclude that there is a pattern of discrimination. One study shows that prosecutors seek the death penalty most often when the victim is white. Prosecutors sought the death penalty twice as often when the victim was white as when the victim was a member of a racial minority. In cases of white victims, 27 percent sought the death penalty, where only 19 percent in cases of minority victims (Bedau).
In most states where the death penalty is instated, it is done so to deter crime. I think the feeling toward capital punishment boils down to two things. It is a kind of feeling most of us have that death really scares us, and a harsh penalty, you have to say deters more than life imprisonment. But if you took the death penalty away, most of us would be just as scared by a life imprisonment. Secondly, most of us who are thinking about this subject are well adjusted, normal, non-murderers. We do not commit murder, not because of the existence of the death penalty, but because we are morally developed, life respecting citizens. The people that do commit murders are of a different sort, their minds do not work like the rest of us. Whether you call them insane, phycopaths or whatever, no amount of punishment could have an effect on them. Now that is not to say it is impossible that, in some few cases, the death penalty did deter a capital crime. These cases, if they exist, must be very few, since they do not show up in the comparative statistical studies. The states with the highest homicide rates are states still seeking to put people to