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Capital punishment-successful or deadly?
I have accumulated throughout my years of learning about the death penalty a strong hatred of the practice. I believe that capitol punishment violates not just the 8th amendment, but the 5th as well. I was curious on other people’s opinions, so I decided to take a poll. I asked 100 people their opinions on capitol punishment. I found that out of the 100 people, 87% of them were against capitol punishment, and 13% for it. This began to make me realize that I was not the only one against the death penalty.
Why am I so vehemently opposed to this punishment? To begin, I do not believe that killing someone is fair punishment for any deed, as horrible as it may be. The old saying, “two wrongs don’t make a right”, as lighthearted as it may seem, has some deep wisdom in it. In a poll, 49% of criminals on death row said they would rather be in jail for life, while 48% said they would rather be killed. (Source of poll- Death Penalty Information Center) This poll shows how life in jail is practically just as bad to criminals as being killed is.
My second point is that the death penalty has not been handed out fairly. In recent studies, it has been found that you have a much higher chance of capitol punishment if you either killed a white person, or/and are black. (Studies from- Death Penalty Information Center) Also, depending on your lawyer you may have a better chance of winning. If you are poor, and cannot afford a fancy, convincing lawyer, you are left with just luck on who you get. This can seriously decrease you chances of not being executed.
My third point is the risk of innocence. Approximately 5 innocent people are killed every year. Many people are finding that the risk of innocence is too high. In United States of America v. Alan Quinones, Judge Jed S. Rakoff said, “In brief, the court has found that the best available evidence indicates that innocent people are sentenced to death with materially greater frequency than was previously supposed and that convincing proof of their innocence often does not emerge until long after enforcing the death penalty. It is therefore fully foreseeable that in enforcing the death penalty a meaningful number of innocent people will be executed who otherwise would eventually be able to prove their innocence.” What Judge Rakoff is saying can prove another point; that the death penalty violates the 5th amendment.
The 5th amendment says, “No person shall…be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law…” If you execute someone who would eventually be able to fully prove his or her innocence that is violating the 5th amendment.
I conclude saying that I believe the death penalty is 1. Unconstitutional, and 2. Unmoral. I hope you see my point.
Still a little unsure? Here are some not-so-fun facts
Is life imprisonment actually more expensive than the death penalty?
In California the death penalty costs $114 MILLION per year BEYOND the costs of keeping someone in jail for life. (LA Times, March, 2007)
In Kansas, the costs of capitol cases are 70% more expensive than non-capitol cases. (Kansas Performance Audit Report, December 2006)
In Indiana, the total cost of the death penalty exceed the complete costs of life without parole sentences by about 38% (Indiana Criminal Law Study Commission, January 10, 2005)
Executions in North Carolina cost 2.16 million per execution OVER the costs of sentencing murderers to life imprisonment. (Duke University, May 2000)
In Florida the death penalty costs $51 MILLION a year OVER what it would cost to keep them in jail. (Palm Beach Post, January 4, 2006)
In Texas, the death penalty costs an average $2.3 million, about 3 times the cost of imprisoning someone in a cell with the highest security for 40 years. (Dallas Morning News, March 8, 2004)
Does the death penalty actually scare criminals away from committing crimes?
A 2005 Hart Research Poll of Police chiefs in the US found that the majority of chiefs do not believe that the death penalty is an effective law enforcement toll