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What Determines a Person Support or Opposition to Death Penalty - Essay Example

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Capital punishment has been a common practice in Western civilization for over 2,000 years. It has been used to punish individuals whose activities compromise the peace and security of the society. Those who oppose it claim that the death penalty system is seriously flawed…
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What Determines a Person Support or Opposition to Death Penalty
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Download file to see previous pages 313 of these cases resulted in execution but the study showed that as much as 68%, or 7 out of 10 cases, could have been reversed. According to the researchers, “capital trials produce so many mistakes1 that it takes three judicial inspections to catch them—leaving grave doubt whether we do catch them all. After state courts threw out 47% of death sentences due to serious flaws, a later federal review found ‘serious error'—error undermining the reliability of the outcome—in 40% of the remaining sentences” (as quoted in Randall 2000). In response to this study, Illinois governor George Ryan pardoned four death row prisoners and commuted the other 163 cases into life imprisonment. This move has garnered widespread criticism from death penalty supporters who accused Ryan for seeking public favor redemption for his corrupt activities. Meanwhile, pro-life forces have nominated the ex-governor for the Nobel Peace Prize as recognition. In another case, Attorney General John Ashcroft used death penalty in order to secure the communities terrorized by a mysterious sniper. When suspects were arrested, Ashcroft steered prosecution away from Maryland where the death penalty was under attack to Virginia, where there is a strong support base for capital punishment. These two cases are just two of the major events that demonstrate the debates for and against capital punishment. There are many others that support the two opposing positions. There are also a number of researches aiming to understand why the death penalty is important, or why it should be abolished instead. This study does not create a position for or against capital punishment. Instead, it seeks to understand how wide a support the practice receives from Americans, as well as to determine the characteristics of individuals who support or object to capital punishment. This is important to know because such information can affect policy concerning death penalty. For example, in the 2009 results of the annual Gallup Crime Survey, they discovered that atleast 65% of Americans continue to support death penalty (Newport 2009). What are the characteristics of these Americans who support death penalty? This is the main question for this research. It is important for policy makers and politicians to know the answer to this question because their own view on capital punishment can affect the support base for future policies and laws they may propose. To expound on the main research question, the following null hypotheses have been formulated: 1. A person’s sex/gender does not affect his or her decision to support or oppose death penalty. 2. Age is not a determinant to the support or opposition to capital punishment. 3. Individuals with higher incomes do not demonstrate greater support to death penalty compared to those with lower income levels. Research Design This study utilizes secondary data from the General Social Survey (GSS) which can be found on this site: http://www3.norc.org/GSS+Website/. On its website, GSS is described as a “major teaching tool…[it] takes the pulse of America, and is a unique and valuable resource” (The National Data Program for the Sciences 2011). Aside from the U.S. Census, the GSS is a frequent source of data for a number of social science courses. The GSS monitors the change in attitudes and opinions of the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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