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Capital Punishment Essay

1497 words - 6 pages

Capital Punishment or as some people refer to it, the death penalty, is the legal process in which an accused is sentenced to death for their crimes. There is a wide range opinions regarding the death penalty and whether it is a cruel and unusual punishment or if justice is better served by means of execution. Currently the total population of state and federal death row is at 3,170 inmates. It has been greatly debated for years whether the death penalty should be enforced. In this paper I will discuss my reasoning as to why I feel the death penalty should be eliminated.
Some have argued that capital punishment is a form of cruel and unusual treatment which makes it unacceptable due to ...view middle of the document...

Capital trials are more expensive to carry out than noncapital trials because of the price at stake, the life of the accused individual. The process of evidence gathering is also more expensive. Evidence must be collected not only to determine the innocence or guilt of the accused but also to support or contradict the sentence of death. Rulings of capital punishment must face a mandatory review by the state supreme court at an additional cost of at least $70,000. If the case advances further in the appeals process, the costs are likely to jump to $275,000 or more for each appeal. Appeals of a death sentence add a great expense to the taxpayer, as the state pays the costs of defending and prosecuting death row inmates. Public defenders have admitted that their goal is a delay, and prosecutors slow the process by fighting access to public records and allowing death row defendants to sweat out their cases until the last minute. By keeping the accused in a maximum security cell the average cost is roughly $25,000 annually which over 40 to 45 years would only cost the tax payers slightly over 1 million dollars which is about 1/3 of the costs it would be to carry out the execution. To me a life in prison is a far worst punishment than being executed because it allows the accused to reflect and feel the guilt of their crimes. While conducting surveys, the majority of law enforcement professionals agreed that capital punishment does not halt violent crimes and they actually rank the death penalty lowest among ways of minimizing violent crimes. States that do not practice capital punishment have much lower rates of violent crime, particularly rape and murder as compared to those states that maintain and utilize capital punishment such as Texas. In fact no definitive study has ever proven that capital has any deterrent effect. If we abandoned the death penalty it can help create the availability of millions of dollars as well as thousands of hours that the courts could use to focus on other crimes.
The death penalty system in the United States is applied in an unfair manner against people based on such things as how much money they have and the skill of their attorneys. Unfortunately, we are also faced with unbalanced percentages of races on death row and in my opinion some receive unfair treatment in relation to others. Death row has always held a disproportionately large population of African Americans, compare to the total population. While comparing African American and white offenders over the past century, African American’s were often executed for what was considered less-than-capital offenses for whites, such as rape and burglary. The rate of execution without having one's conviction reviewed by a higher court was higher for African Americans. A study that was conducted by the Governor of Maryland found that “black offenders who kill white victims are at greater risk of a death sentence than others, primarily because they are substantially more...

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