Capital Punishment Essay: Death Penalty Not Consistent With Democracy

778 words - 4 pages

Death Penalty Not Consistent with Democracy

Many laws consider a premeditated crime more serious than a crime of pure violence. But what then is capital punishment but the most premeditated of murders, to which no criminal's deed, however calculated it may be, can be compared? For there to be equivalence, the death penalty would have to punish a criminal who had warned his victim of the date at which he would inflict a horrible death on him and who, from that moment onward, had confined him at his mercy for years.


The Council of Europe declares, "The death penalty can no longer be regarded as an acceptable form of punishment from a human rights perspective. It is an ...view middle of the document...

Thus, one would think their positions on the death penalty, as a human rights issue, would be similar, not contradictory.


The Council of Europe named three major reasons for its opposition to capital punishment: it is arbitrary, it is discriminatory, and it is irreversible.


Is capital punishment less arbitrary, discriminatory and irreversible in the United States? No. Capital punishment in the United States is administered in an extremely discriminatory manner.  For example, nearly 90% of all inmates executed are executed for killing white people, when 50% of homicide victims are African American.


Even Former Supreme Court Justice William Brennan acknowledged the discriminatory nature of the death penalty in the United States, saying, in 1994, "... the death penalty is imposed. . . in a freakish and discriminatory manner". Yet the Court continues to allow executions.


In addition, administration of the death penalty is no less arbitrary in the United States than it was in Europe. Some convicted murderers get life in prison, while others are executed. Many of the life and death rulings, decided at sentencing, are determined by the capabilities of the defense attorneys, whose competence is usually a direct result of the wealth of the defendant. In other words, wealthy, well-connected murderers are very rarely executed and poor ones often are.


Finally, capital punishment in the United States is obviously no less irreversible than...

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