Introduction• Growing debate subject in the U.S. and other European countries• Definition of capital punishment: “The infliction of the death penalty on persons convicted of a crime”• Generally, there are two points of views: legalizing or abolishing capital punishment
Thesis• Should the U.S. government allow capital punishment?
History of Capital Punishment• Adopted from British common laws• By 1960, people requested Bill of Rights to state criminal proceeding in capital cases• 1968-1978, Capital Punishment law was repealed due to public demand• 5th Amendment authorized the death penalty
Analyzing the Problem• Agreement – Discourages people from committing crimes – Justifiable for atrocious crime (rape, murder, treason) – Prevents criminals from repeating their crimes• Disagreement – The possibility of error – Unfair judgment – Financially cost the government and the taxpayers
Discourages People from Committing Crimes• With risk of being sentenced to death, the law have criminals thinking twice before making an action.• Criminals know they will not be “off the hook”
Justifiable• The United States should not ban capital punishment because it is a just punishment that fits horrible crimes like murder, rape, and treason and many others.• Proponents of capital punishment believe that “A prison sentence, even a life sentence without possibility of parole, does not adequately avenge the cruelest and most calculated murders” (“Update”).
Prevents from Repeated Crimes• “It saves innocent lives by preventing convicted murders from killing again”, stated Paul G. Cassell (Bedau and Cassell 187).• These criminals may end up carry out a killing spree since there is nothing to stop them if capital punishment is illegalized.
The Possibility of Error• Lawyers and law students have overturned many cases’ decision where convicted people are innocent of their crimes but sentenced to death
Unfair Judgment• The racial discrimination and the gender can effect to the death penalty Statistics• Between 1930 and the end of 1996, 4,220 prisoners were executed in the United States; more than half (53%) were black.• Between 1930 and 1976, 455 men were executed for rape, of whom 405 - 90 percent - were black.• Of the 3,200 prisoners on death row in 1996, 40% were black.• An exhaustive statistical study of racial discrimination in capital cases in Georgia, for example, showed that "the average non-white of receiving a death sentence among all indicted cases were 4.3 times higher in cases with white victims.• The killing of a white person is treated much more severely than the killing of a black person. Of the 313 persons executed between January 1977 and the end of 1995, 36 had been convicted of killing a black person while 249 (80%) had killed a white person. Of the 178 white defendants executed, only three had been convicted of murdering people of color.• During the 1980s and early 1990s, only about one percent of all those on death row were women even though women commit about 15 percent of all criminal homicides. A third or more of the women under death sentence were guilty of killing men who had victimized them with years of violent abuse. Since 1930, only 33 women (12 of them black) have been executed in the United States.
Unfair Judgment (continued)• The killing of a white person is treated much more severely than the killing of a black person. Of the 313 persons executed between January 1977 and the end of 1995, 36 had been convicted of killing a black person while 249 (80%) had killed a white person. Of the 178 white defendants executed, only three had been convicted of murdering people of color.• During the 1980s and early 1990s, only about one percent of all those on death row were women even though women commit about 15 percent of all criminal homicides. A third or more of the women under death sentence were guilty of killing men who had victimized them with years of violent abuse. Since 1930, only 33 women (12 of them black) have been executed in the United States.
Financial Cost• In terms of economics, it is more expensive to execute a criminal than keeping him in prison for life.• Taxpayers should not be barring that cost• The money could be used for education and the community than on the death of another
Solutions• Alternative to Death Penalty: – Life sentence of at least 25 years before being considered for parole – Work-prison: working inside the prison to pay for their own imprisonment – Working to raise funds for the victims and survivors of violent crimes
Solutions• Increasing the number of juries on capital punishment cases• Stop juvenile execution• Educate juvenile prisoners• Increase the number of police officers in the law enforcement system
Conclusion• Resulting numerous debates over the morality and legality of the death penalty• Should be retained because it discourages people from committing crimes, is fair for certain crimes such as murder and treason, and it helps preventing repeated crimes• Should not be retained because its possibility of error, promoting discrimination, and financial cost.
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