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Capital Punishment, The Road To A Corrupt Criminal Justice System, Must Be Abolished For The Sake Of Society. The Death Penalty Is Unfair Towards Society Members, Such As Tax Payers, Innocent People, And The Criminal As Well

2653 words - 11 pages

Capital Punishment:The Road to Corrupt Criminal JusticeGeorge Deamont11/16/09Ivan SilverbergCollege Preparation Period 3Capital punishment, or the death penalty, is the planned death by the state of one who has committed a capital crime. One who is sentenced to death is sent to death row, a term that refers to a section of a prison that houses convicts that await execution. Standard forms of modern-day execution are electrocution, hanging, gas chamber, lethal injection, and firing squad. Some of the earliest forms of execution took place during the Babylonian Empire under the rule of King Hammurabi. He took punishment as a serious manner, and he established what appeared to be the first ...view middle of the document...

Of all the worries of the death penalty, the most compelling is the thought that an innocent person would be executed. There have been cases when an innocent defendant was sentenced to death, but are often saved at the last minute because new evidence was discovered. According to Richard C. Dieter, there has been 69 inmates who were released from death row after evidence of their innocence emerged, and "[t]he risk that innocent people will be caught up in the web of the death penalty is rising" (Richard C. Dieter, Innocence and the Death Penalty: The Increasing Danger of Executing the Innocent, Death Penalty Information Center, July 1997). People who support the death penalty argue that abolitionists like Richard Dieter failed to report a single innocent person who has been wrongfully executed. There are indeed many documented reversals of this sort, such as the case of Kirk Bloodsworth. "In 1984, I was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death for the rape and murder of nine year-old Dawn Hamilton in Baltimore, Maryland. I spent eight years, eleven months, and nineteen days behind bars before DNA testing proved my innocence." (Kirk Bloodsworth, speaking at the USCCB Press Conference launching the Catholic Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty (March 21, 2005)). These reversals are happening too often, and it is too great a risk to tolerate. In relation, there are also some unfair accusations on behalf of the accused. The death penalty is biased by factors such legal representation and race. The average cost of defending someone in a federal death case is about $620,192. A study showed that defendants who represented with less than $320,000 had a 44% chance of being sentenced to death than defendants who represented over $320,000. If the convicted does not have enough money to represent him or herself, they receive the least amount of attorney and expert time. The quality of legal representation can determine whether or not one is sentenced to death, and that is unfair to the convicted, especially if he or she is not really guilty. Recent studies have also shown some racial discrimination is occurring in the death penalty system. Currently, the African American population in the United States is 12.9%. Of all the people in death row, 42% of the population is African Americans. Is this just coincidence? Or is there something more? The percent of African Americans in death row is much higher than the percent in the entire United States population; almost a 30% difference! This is no mere coincidence; there is definitely racial bias going on in this system, and it is unfair to the people who have equal human rights and legal representation in court. Death penalty convictions are arbitrarily distributed based on legal representation, race, and they inflict damage on the innocent people. We not only need to start establishing alternative methods that reduce crime more efficiently, we also need to examine the costs of the death penalty...

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