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The American System of Criminal Justice - Death Penalty Should be Abolished - Research Paper Example

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This paper "The American System of Criminal Justice - Death Penalty Should be Abolished" focuses on the death penalty has gone through severe criticism and opposition in the recent years, and one of the most debated topics in connection with this issue has been whether or not the death penalty should be abolished. …
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Download file to see previous pages According to this view, the death penalty has been proved, over and over again, as a flawed machine, riddled with errors, besmirched officials, and defective practices. As Jeffrey H. Reiman maintains, the death penalty, in principle, is a just punishment for murder, but it is an unjust penalty in practice, especially in the American context, where it is applied in arbitrary and discriminatory ways. Thus, he makes a strong argument maintaining that “it is good in principle to avoid the death penalty and bad in practice to impose it.” (Reiman, 1998, p. 68). Therefore, it becomes evident, in a profound analysis of the research evidence, that death penalty should be abolished, sooner or later, because it is morally unjustified and uncivilized practice of punishment today. This paper makes a reflective exploration of the topic in order to identify the major arguments in favour of the view that death penalty should be abolished. Why Death Penalty should be abolished The debate concerning whether or not the death penalty should be abolished has been a long one, and the idea of abolition of death penalty gained momentum across the globe over the last five decades. It is important to recognize that death penalty or Capital Punishment has been practised by almost all the societies of the world during the different stages of their history and it is still observed as the essential form of punishment in various societies across the globe today. Significantly, there have been varied opinions on the subject of Capital Punishment, some for it and others against it. Unquestionably, the question relating to the death penalty has become one of the most engaging issues of debate in the world in the present day, and the world is divided into two parts on the same question. Whereas the supporters of the death penalty argue that the practice of death penalty is essential to maintain decorum and to discourage future crimes, a stronger plea has been made by the critics of death penalty according to whom it is an infringement of the basic human rights. According to the supporters of the abolition of death penalty, it is a barbaric act of murder which is not morally, ethically, religiously, or democratically acceptable practice. Citing the declaration by the American Civil Liberties Union, Hugo Adam Bedau argues that “the death penalty inherently violates the constitutional ban against cruel and unusual punishment and the guarantee of due process of law and the equal protection of the laws. The imposition of the death penalty is inconsistent with fundamental values of our democratic system.” (Bedau, 1992). As Hugo Adam Bedau maintains, the death penalty should be realized as an excruciating refutation of civil liberties to the citizens of a state which does not have the right to kill human beings. Therefore, it is essential to “seek to prevent executions and to abolish capital punishment by litigation, legislation, commutation, or by the weight of a renewed public outcry against this brutal and brutalizing institution.” (Bedau, 1992). In a reflective analysis of the arguments for the abolition of death penalty, it becomes lucid that several nations of the world, including Portugal and the United Kingdom, have outlawed the death penalty. The process of abolishing the death penalty around the world started as early as the mid-1800s, and the ethical dimensions of the question have been widely cited as the major reason for the abolition of death penalty.    ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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