capital punishment as americans minds change




Capitol Punishment is the harshest punishment there is for a crime in the United States. Just like most ideas and policies in our nation people agree with Capitol Punishment and people don’t agree with it. As time goes on more and more Americans support the death penalty. Despite the increase in support there are still questionable factors about Capitol Punishment. It is said that the death penalty is overcrowding our prisons, that there are racial bias, and poor representation for poor defendants when it comes the cases where lawyers are seeking the death penalty.
Polls from the 1960’s prove that most American’s opposed the death penalty. Most western nations had eliminated the death penalty completely or had modified its use. Polls from the 1990’s show that 75-80 percent of Americans support the death penalty ( Monk, 252).
Then there are Americans such as Justice Brennan that says the death penalty is “uncivilized,” “inhuman,” ‘inconsistent with’ “human dignity” and with “the sanctity of life.” He also says that the death penalty “treats the human race as nonhumans, as objects to be toyed with and discarded, that it is uniquely degrading to human dignity and by its very nature, [involves] a denial of the executed persons humanity” ( Monk, 270).
There is a lot of people these days don’t like the fact that we have government programs that cost a great deal of money and produce less results. These are the programs that people want to due away with. The death penalty is “ one of the least efficient government programs in America is also among the most popular. Capitol Punishment is favored by more than three- quarters of the American voters.” Case studies have also proven that the cost to carry out a death sentence is far more expensive than it is it hold a prisoner for life. In the year 1994 death row exceeded 3000 prisoners nationwide and only 31 were executed ( Monk,255).
In the United States the state of Texas has the most inmates on death row, exceeding more than 300. Texas only executes one for every four that are sentenced to death. In America the ratio is only one for every twenty sentenced to die ( Monk, 255) Even retired Justice Lewis Powell thinks that the death penalty is a waste of time. “ ‘I have come to think that Capitol Punishment should be abolished.’ ‘The death penalty’ “ brings discredit on the whole legal system,’ ‘Powell said, because the vast majority of death sentences are never carried out” ( Monk, 265).
On an evening in October of 1973 a man named James Curtis “Doug” McCray raped and beat to death a women jogger. A hand print of blood matched McCray’s and proved his guilt. McCray on the other hand had no recollection of the murder. McCray suffered from epilepsy, a type called temporal lobe seizure disorder. This type of epilepsy causes violent blackout and can be triggered by alcohol. This was not brought to the jury’s attention nor was it research properly. The jury sentenced him to life in prison but the judge overturned the sentence and gave him the death penalty. After a series of appeals, in May of 1991 his sentence was overturned again and he was sentenced to life in prison. This is an example of why the death penalty is a waste of time.
People have tried different things to control the vast increase in death sentences. California tried by getting rid of their liberal chief justice in 1986 and since then only two executions have taken place (Monk, 264). California has over 300 prisoners on death row. Despite the cost of an execution, is there another reason why the execution level is so low? If one kills does that give us the right to kill? What are the reasons to kill? Cesare Beccaria feels that there are only two reasons that make it right for the death penalty. One: “when it is evident that even if deprived of liberty he still has the connections and power such as to endanger the security of the nation when, that is, his existence can produce a dangerous revolution in the established form of government.” Second: “ if his death were the