Your Full Name Your Your 27 February 2011 The Case against Capital Punishment Capital punishment or the death penalty has been a part of justice and legal systems throughout the world since time immemorial. It is usually reserved as punishment for very serious crimes such as murder, drug trafficking and, in some legal systems, treason…
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Capital punishment has been abolished in many US states with others passing bills to abolish it in the near future. There was a lapse of four years in handing out capital punishment in the United States of America in 1972. The practice resumed in 1976 and is still being carried out. Considering both sides of the argument and weighing pros against cons, it is better to do away with capital punishment once and for all from the justice system of the United States of America. In our present legal system, there are chances of false falsely convicting individuals. The strongest argument against the death penalty puts forth the hypothesis of an individual being falsely convicted and sentenced to death. Research shows that this hypothesis has come to pass in several cases such as a case in Illinois in 1983 where two men were falsely accused of murder of a 10 year old. After having spent 10 years on the death row waiting for the date of execution, their innocence was proved by defense when DNA evidence cleared them of the charges (Donohue, and Shavell x). If the American legal system had not been slow, two innocent men would have lost their lives for a crime they did not commit at the same time allowing the real culprit to roam free. And if the discovery came after the sentence was carried out, how would the state go about posthumous redress? More than 130 similar cases have come to light in the past 37 years where 130 individuals were found innocent after having spent time on death row (DPIC FactSheet). Questions and incidents such as this one shake the resolve of those in favor because, once death penalty is carried out, the executed cannot be brought back to life. In case of time served, some sort of financial redress can be offered. Capital punishment provides room for abuse. Another argument that is loosely connected to the preceding one is the conviction of the mentally disabled. There are several mental conditions, psychological disorders amongst them, that make individuals who are suffering from them commit acts of violence. It can be argued that these people, whether because of depression, delusion or under the influence of medication that they take to treat these ailments, may commit murder. Though there is a consensus that such people should not be awarded capital punishment, however, as long as capital punishment remains a viable option, there is no way to ensure that such verdicts are not passed. For instance, in the State of Virginia a borderline mentally challenged woman, Teresa Lewis, was awarded the capital punishment (Szkotak). Lewis, despite being mentally retarded and despite not being the actual perpetrator was executed just because the option was available. If capital punishment is abolished, the option would not be present to be taken into consideration in the first place. Death by legal injection is seen by many as cruel and unusual punishment. The current method of execution, the lethal injection is a mixture of deadly substances with potassium chloride being the active ingredient. It is introduced intravenously into the human body. If not in the correct ratio or if not administered properly, the lethal injection can cause a slow and agonizing death. In most cases, potassium chloride merely causes paralysis and the poor individual is painfully aware of every sensation till his or her last breath. This may also happen varying on a person to person basis e.g. in
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