Why Should the Death Penalty Be Legal in the United States

Opinions on the death penalty vary according to religious affiliation. About two-thirds of American Protestants (66%) favor the death penalty, although support among white evangelical Protestants (75%) and non-evangelical white Protestants (73%) is much higher than among black Protestants (50%). About six in ten Catholics (58%) also support the death penalty, a figure that includes 61% of Hispanic Catholics and 56% of white Catholics. Real experience thus proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the death penalty has no deterrent effect on murder. There is no comparable evidence to contradict this conclusion. However, admitting that mistakes can sometimes occur in capital cases does not make the death penalty unjust, any more than imposing a sentence of imprisonment of several years makes it unfair because mistakes sometimes occur in non-capital cases. A California jury sentenced Veronica and Ivan to death, and the California Supreme Court upheld their convictions. If anyone deserved the ultimate punishment, they did it. The death penalty not only wastes lives, but also wastes money. Contrary to popular belief, it is much more expensive to execute a person than to imprison them for life. The finality of the death penalty rightly requires that important procedural provisions be made at all stages of the death penalty in order to minimize the likelihood of error. As a result, conducting a single capital case costs about three times more than a person`s prison sentence for their remaining life expectancy, which is about 40 years. The death penalty is often defended on the grounds that society has a moral obligation to protect the safety and well-being of its citizens.

Murderers threaten this security and well-being. Only by executing murderers can society ensure that convicted murderers do not kill again. Opponents of the death penalty rightly note that a number of death row inmates have been exonerated by groups such as the Innocence Project. Unfortunately, errors can occur. In fact, mistakes can occur on both sides when it comes to the death penalty. Barbara Anderson Young, the sister of James Anderson, who was allegedly run over in 2011 by a white teenager from Mississippi who allegedly wanted to harm her because he was black, wrote a letter to the local prosecutor on behalf of her family expressing the family`s opposition to the death penalty, which is «deeply rooted in our religious beliefs. a faith that was also at the heart of James` life. The letter also eloquently demands that the defendant be spared execution because the death penalty «has historically been used in Mississippi and the South primarily against people of color for killing white people.» «Eliminating James` killer will not help balance the scales. But sparing them can help to start a dialogue that will one day lead to the abolition of the death penalty. A 1993 study of the cost of the death penalty system in North Carolina found that litigating a murder case from start to finish adds an additional $163,000 to what it would cost the state to keep the convict in prison for 20 years. The additional cost can be as high as $216,000 per case when all first-degree murder trials and appeals are considered, many of which do not end with a death sentence and execution.

The death penalty system in the United States is applied against people in an unfair and unjust manner, largely based on the money they have, the competence of their lawyers, the race of the victim, and where the crime took place. People of color are much more likely to be executed than whites, especially if the victim is white. The death penalty is not a viable form of fighting crime. When police chiefs were asked to assess the factors that they felt reduced the rate of violent crime, they mentioned reduced drug use and the presence of officers on the streets, longer prison sentences and gun control. They considered the death penalty to be the least effective. Politicians who preach the desirability of executions as a method of fighting crime mislead the public and mask their own inability to identify and combat the real causes of crime. The classic statistical study on racial discrimination in capital punishment cases in Georgia, presented in the McCleskey case, showed that «the average probability of being sentenced to death was 4.3 times higher among all cases charged in white victim cases». (David C.

Baldus et al., Equal Justice and the Death Penalty 1990) In 1987, these data were referred to the Supreme Court in McCleskey v. Kemp and, although the Court did not dispute the statistical evidence, it concluded that the evidence of a general pattern of racial bias was insufficient. Lord. McCleskey would have to prove racial bias in his own case — a virtually impossible task. The Court also found that the evidence could not prove that there was «a constitutionally significant risk of racial bias.» (481 United States 279) Although the Supreme Court stated that the remedy sought by the plaintiff «was better submitted to the legislative branches,» subsequent efforts to persuade Congress to resolve the issue by enacting the Racial Justice Act were unsuccessful. (Don Edwards & John Conyers, Jr., The Racial Justice Act – A Simple Matter of Justice, in University of Dayton Law Review 1995) The death penalty is also unjust because it is sometimes imposed on innocent people. Since 1900, 350 people have been wrongly convicted of murder or rape. The death penalty makes it impossible to correct such mistakes. On the other hand, if the death penalty is not in force, convicted persons who are subsequently found innocent may be released and compensated for the time they wrongly spent in prison. The death penalty is cruel and unusual. It is cruel because it is a relic of the early days of the penal system, when slavery, marking and other corporal punishment were commonplace.

Like these barbaric practices, executions have no place in a civilized society. This is unusual because, of all the Western industrialized nations, only the United States participates in this punishment. It is also unusual because only a random sample of convicted murderers in the United States receives the death penalty. It is also often argued that death is what murderers deserve, and that those who oppose the death penalty violate the fundamental principle that criminals should be punished according to their righteous desserts – «match punishment to crime». If this rule means that punishments are unjust unless they are like the crime itself, then the principle is unacceptable: it would oblige us to rape rapists, torture torturers and impose other horrific and degrading punishments on perpetrators. This would require us to betray traitors and kill several murderers over and over again – punishments that are, of course, impossible to impose. Since we cannot reasonably aim to punish all crimes according to this principle, it is arbitrary to invoke it as a demand of justice to punish murder. However, the death penalty serves three legitimate purposes of criminal law: general deterrence, specific deterrence and retaliation. The second, a specific deterrent, is specific to the defendant. It simply means that the person facing the death penalty will not be alive to kill other people.

[25] See Carter, note 25 above; Death Penalty Information Center, Time on Death Row (2006), p. www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/time-death-row. Neither death row syndrome nor death row has received official recognition from the American Psychiatric Association or the American Psychological Association. [27] In 1995, however, in a memorandum on the Supreme Court`s denial of certiorari for death row inmate Clarence Lackey, Justices Stevens and Breyer emphasized the «importance and novelty» of the question «whether the execution of a prisoner who has already spent some 17 years on death row violates the Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.» [28] As some scientists and proponents have noted, the mental deterioration symptomatic of death row syndrome can render an inmate unable to participate in his or her own post-conviction trial. [29] This sample of crazy and arbitrary findings of innocence also speaks directly to the ongoing concern that there are many more innocent people on death row across the country – and who have been executed. Several factors observed in the above sample of cases help explain why the justice system cannot guarantee that the judiciary will never miscarry: overzealous prosecution, false testimony or perjury, race, faulty police, forced confessions, criminal records of the accused, incompetent and underfunded defence lawyers, apparently conclusive circumstantial evidence, and community pressure for a conviction, inter alia.

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febrero 2023


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