Professor Matthew Bellico
15 February 2010
The Death Penalty
Stephen Bright [Human rights attorney] once said "It can be argued that rapists deserve to be raped, that mutilators deserve to be mutilated. Most societies, however, refrain from responding in this way because the punishment is not only degrading to those on whom it is imposed, but it is also degrading to the society that engages in the same behavior as the criminals." There are many states that do not support the death penalty, and the average number of murders are significantly less in the states that do not support the death penalty than in the states that do support it. The cost of keeping ...view middle of the document...
(Amnesty International USA) The millions of dollars spent on capital punishment cuts into resources for communities, such as schools, hospitals, public safety, and state jobs. New York brought back the death penalty in 1995, even though the Department of Corrections estimated that it will cost a bit over $2 million per criminal case and approximately $118 million annually. That same year, state leaders complained of a budge shortfall and made dramatic cut in funding for the public higher education and health care. In another instance, New Jersey spent $16 million to impose the death penalty that first year. The very next year, New Jersey laid off about 500 police officers because they could not afford to pay them.
The death penalty should be abolished because it has a heightened risk or error. The risks of inaccurate judgment have been elevated because the death penalty has become a politicized issue that is commonly used in campaigns for judges and district attorneys who are elected to their positions. Also, due to the high emotions surrounding a murder case, there is great pressure on law enforcement officials to solve homicide quickly. Such pressure may actually lead to misconduct by the investigators or prosecutors. In addition, murders frequently lack eyewitnesses, forcing the prosecutors to use less reliable sources for evidence. Because of these high risks there have been recent cases of mistaken execution or conviction. Leo Jones was convicted of murdering a police officer in...