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Death Penalty Essay Example

Introduction

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The death penalty is one criminal justice area that has attracted a serious debate about whether or not it should be abolished. The penalty enjoys a strong support from the public as people believe that it serves to deter crime as criminals are afraid of dying just like other humans. However, those opposed to it believe that there are enough reasons to warrant its abolishment. For instance, they argue that it does not deter crime as it does not address what motivates people to act criminally. This paper argues that the death penalty should be abolished because it is not one of the best methods of punishing criminals and addressing crime.

Capital punishment is not an effective way of deterring crime contrary to arguments of those who support it. This is because it lacks the deterrent effect to which its advocates commonly refer. “As recently stated by the General Assembly of the United Nations, “there is no conclusive evidence of the deterrent value of the death penalty”” (International Commission against Death Penalty, 2013). This is why a continuously increasing number of law professionals are seriously questioning the effectiveness of the penalty in preventing crime. It is wrongly assumed that one would not want to commit crime since it would possibly land them into the capital punishment. There is however no evidence to support this assumption. Even if one was to fear dying as is assumed here, they might choose to engage in crime that does not attract the death penalty.

The penalty is also not in order because there is no humane way to kill. In 2006 for instance, a lethal injection that was used to execute Angel Nieves Diaz and was deemed ‘humane’ took a whopping 34 minutes and was administered in two doses. According to doctors’ opinion on the case, it is likely that Diaz underwent a painful death and thus the procedure could not have been humane in any way. Other brutal execution methods used across the globe include beheading, shooting, and hanging. The nature of these deaths is such that they only continue to perpetuate the violence cycle. In addition, they add onto the pain the victims’ family would have already suffered upon a member of theirs being taken into custody (Amnesty International Australia, 2018).

Moreover, the penalty makes a public spectacle out of the death of an individual. Victims are often executed in a manner that is extremely public, with lethal injections live broadcasts in the United States or public hangings in Iran. UN human rights experts hold that there is no legitimate purpose served by public executions which according them, only increases the punishment’s degrading, inhuman, and cruel nature. According to Hadj Sahraoui, an Amnesty International official, executions “carried out publicly are a gross affront to human dignity which cannot be tolerated” (Amnesty International Australia, 2018). Normally, a human being should be allowed the right to die in a dignified manner and ‘privately’ so they may have peace during the transition. It is a right that not even law should take away.

Contrary to the death penalty proponents’ argument that it applies fairly to all criminals, this is not the case as some people are left sentenced to death due to poor quality defense. As observed by OADP (2018), ineffective assistance of counsel is one of the factors that frequently cause reversals in death penalty cases. “Columbia University found that 68% of all death penalty cases were reversed on appeal, with inadequate defense as one of the main reasons requiring reversal” (OADP, 2018). Thus, it follows that whether or not one gets the death sentence largely lies in their ability to afford high quality defense. This makes this punishment method unfair.

Further, the death penalty cannot be taken back once it is executed. People may end up paying for crimes they never committed are a result of absolute judgments. “Texas man Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in Texas in 2004 for allegedly setting a fire that killed his three daughters” (Amnesty International Australia, 2018). However, it would later be revealed through evidence that he was not the one who set that fire. Mr. Willingham, an innocent citizen, had paid with his life a crime he never knew anything about nor committed. As is clear here, being declared innocent was of no use for him since it could not bring him back to life. As such, criminal justice systems should apply punishment methods that allow for the setting free of individuals should further evidence prove them innocent after they are punished.

Conclusion

The death penalty does not address crime effectively as it is purported to. Instead, it tramples upon the human right of undergoing a dignified death and dying peacefully and out of public’s attention. There can never be a humane way to kill and no matter the crime one has committed, they should not be subjected to this painful process of dying. The punishment is also not fair as some people might while others might not afford to hire quality lawyers to defend them. Moreover, it cannot be taken back and this means once persecuted, one can never regain their innocence as well as their life.

References

Amnesty International Australia. (2018). Five reasons to abolish the death penalty. Amnesty International Australia. Retrieved May 20, 2018 from https://www.amnesty.org.au/5-reasons-abolish-death-penalty/#

International Commission against Death Penalty. (2013). Why the death penalty should be abolished. International Commission against Death Penalty. Retrieved May 20, 2018 from http://www.icomdp.org/arguments-against-the-death-penalty/

OADP. (2018). The Facts: 13 Reasons to Oppose the Death Penalty. Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. Retrieved May 20, 2018 from https://oadp.org/facts/13-reasons

 

Death Penalty Essay Outline

Introduction

Thesis:

The death penalty should be abolished because it is not one of the best methods of punishing criminals and addressing crime.

Body

Paragraph 1:  

Capital punishment is not an effective way of deterring crime contrary to arguments of those who support it.

  • It lacks the deterrent effect to which its advocates commonly refer.
  • “There is no conclusive evidence of the deterrent value of the death penalty”
  • An increasing number of law professionals are seriously questioning the effectiveness of the penalty in preventing crime.

Paragraph 2:

The penalty is not in order because there is no humane way to kill.

  • In 2006, a lethal injection was used to execute Angel Nieves Diaz.
  • It took a whopping 34 minutes and was administered in two doses.
  • According to doctors’ opinion, it is likely that Diaz underwent a painful death.

Paragraph 3:  

The penalty makes a public spectacle out of the death of an individual.

  • Victims are often executed in a manner that is extremely public.
  • There is no legitimate purpose served by public executions which only increases the punishment’s degrading, inhuman, and cruel nature.
  • Executions “carried out publicly are a gross affront to human dignity which cannot be tolerated.”

Paragraph 4:

The penalty does not apply fairly to all criminals as some people are left sentenced to death due to poor quality defense.

  • Ineffective assistance of counsel is one of the factors that frequently cause reversals in death penalty cases.
  • Whether or not one gets the death sentence largely lies in their ability to afford high quality defense.

Paragraph 5:

The death penalty cannot be taken back once it is executed.

  • People may end up paying for crimes they never committed are a result of absolute judgments.
  • A Texas man was found innocent after being executed.
  • Criminal justice systems should apply punishment methods that allow for the setting free of individuals should further evidence prove them innocent after they are punished.

Conclusion

The death penalty does not address crime effectively as it is purported to. Instead, it tramples upon the human right of undergoing a dignified death and dying peacefully and out of public’s attention.

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