Anti Capital Punishment Essays
Persuasive Essay Against Capital Punishment
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Persuasive Essay Against Capital Punishment
“Kill. (Verb) To make someone or something die.”
Does anyone really think they have the right to take another person’s life? Apparently yes.
Perhaps we should give the judge a knife and tell her that if she has decided that the accused is guilty, she should stab him herself. Perhaps then she would hesitate. But if many people (hundreds or thousands who operate the judicial system) are involved, it spreads, or even divides the feeling of culpability among many. They may feel less guilty, especially if they believe that they are representing the whole society of their country. What makes it seem more “humane” is the official perspective of it.…show more content…
Another reason which people give in support of capital punishment is that with a life sentence you have to feed the criminals for years and years, but if you “terminate” their life earlier, then the government will be saving on the costs of having to support them for ever. This is actually not true at all. The court appeals involved in the death penalty turn into a long, drawn-out and very expensive process. A quote I found states, “Add up criminal justice process expenses, trial court costs, appellate and
Melanie AZ Morales Robson
Summer Examinations 2004
post-conviction costs, and prison costs, including years served on death row in awaiting execution. Altogether, the extra costs per death penalty imposed is over a quarter million dollars, and per execution exceeds $2 million.” This can be compared to the average cost for a twenty-year prison term for first-degree murder, which is approximately $330 thousand.
Even if it were more economical to apply capital punishment to a prisoner, this would hardly make it justifiable in a humane society.
I think therefore that a life sentence is always ultimately better than the death penalty. If, in later appeals or retrials, the executed person is found to be innocent, they cannot be
When the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the death penalty is unconstitutional in the state, it reckoned squarely with the kind of questions that citizens often ask and that legal cases seldom answer: Is capital punishment moral? Is it necessary?
By 4–3, the court held that “capital punishment has become incompatible with contemporary standards of decency in Connecticut and, therefore, now violates the state constitutional prohibition against excessive and disproportionate punishments.” It also held that “the death penalty now fails to satisfy any legitimate penological purpose and is unconstitutionally excessive on that basis as well.” Justice Richard N. Palmer, a moderate liberal who has been on the court for twenty-two years, wrote the opinion.
In reaching the result it did, the court was dramatically divided: in addition to the majority opinion, there are twoconcurrences, agreeing on the majority’s reasoning but emphasizing reasons of their own, and threedifferentdissents. But the clarity, thoroughness, and persuasiveness of the majority opinion indicate that this landmark decision will likely be remembered not for the divisions among the Justices but for where the majority came out. The 2003 ruling of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in the Goodridge case is a fair comparison: it is remembered not as a 4–3 decision, but as the first by an American court to legalize same-sex marriage.
The Connecticut decision drew on history:
[T]he acceptability of imposing death as a form of judicial punishment has declined steadily over Connecticut’s nearly 400 year history. Secularization, evolving moral standards, new constitutional and procedural protections, and the availability of incarceration as a viable alternative to execution have resulted in capital punishment being available for far fewer crimes and criminals, and being imposed far less frequently, with a concomitant deterioration in public acceptance.
It confronted a long, consistent record of unfairness:
[W]hat has not changed is that, throughout every period of our state’s history, the death penalty has been imposed disproportionately on those whom society has marginalized socially, politically, and economically: people of color, the poor and uneducated, and unpopular immigrant and ethnic groups. It always has been easier for us to execute those we see as inferior or less intrinsically worthy.
And it explained why the death penalty is unnecessary as a punishment:
[T]he legislature necessarily has made a determination that he who lives by the sword need not die by it; that life imprisonment without the possibility of release is an adequate and sufficient penalty even for the most horrific of crimes; and that we can express our moral outrage, mete out justice, bring some measure of solace to the families of the victims, and purge the blemish of murder on our community whilst the offender yet lives. If this is true, then, although the death penalty still might serve some minimal retributive function in Connecticut, it lacks any retributive justification.
The Connecticut Legislature seemed to make these issues superfluous when it repealed the state’s death penalty, in 2012, but that law, identified as Public Act 12–5, contained a prominent exemption: it did not apply to the eleven men then on the state’s death row, or to anyone who had committed a capital felony before the law was enacted. Two of the death-row inmates had been sentenced to death for killing a woman and her two daughters five years earlier, in an infamous crime known as the Cheshire home-invasion murders, and the repeal law seemed to support both the abolition of the death sentence going forward and the holdover of capital punishment for those men. Governor Dannel Malloy described the signing of the law as “a moment for sober reflection, not celebration.” He signed it, he went on, because, as a former prosecutor, he understood that “our system of justice is very imperfect” and because of the “unworkability” of Connecticut’s previous death-penalty law.
A scholarly study of every murder case in the state from 1973—when Connecticut enacted a new death-penalty law to comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling that the penalty had previously been applied arbitrarily nationwide and was thus unconstitutional—until 2007 found that the state was still applying capital punishment arbitrarily. The crimes committed by defendants sentenced to death were no more egregious than those by defendants sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole. A minority defendant who killed a white person was six times as likely to receive a death sentence as a white defendant whose victim was white. A murderer charged and convicted in the city of Waterbury whose crime made him eligible for capital punishment was at least seven times as likely to receive a death sentence as someone whose case was prosecuted elsewhere in the state.
As the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled, Public Act 12–5
held a mirror up to Connecticut’s long, troubled history with capital punishment: the steady replacement by more progressive forms of punishment; the increasing inability to achieve legitimate penological purposes; the freakishness with which the sentence of death is imposed; the rarity with which it is carried out; and the racial, ethnic, and socio-economic biases that likely are inherent in any discretionary death penalty system.
The court interpreted the state constitution, so its ruling can neither be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court nor serve as a binding precedent on any court outside Connecticut. But, in explaining why it is time for the demise of the death penalty in Connecticut, the court has a lot to say about why it is time for the penalty’s demise throughout the country. The resolve and the reasoning of the Connecticut Supreme Court’s ruling make it far more important than simply a declaration by one more state that capital punishment is cruel and unusual and must be ended.