The Death Penalty – A Perspective

Is It Worth It?

Life is precious and it’s very special. Living life is a persons right. No man should have the right to tell me when and how I should die. Two wrongs never make a right. If I were to kill someone does it constitute the state or federal government to kill me? No, one person should never take another’s life in any situation, nor have the power to do so.

We aren’t playing a game of tit for tat, are we? Life has meaning whether we are the perfect family with a white picket fence or a family of sadistic assholes. No one knows why we’re here, but we have a purpose. The purpose never calls for evil, but evil does happen. God doesn’t tell us why, nor should he have to. God doesn’t tell you we won’t suffer, but it happens, many of us suffer from our own internal struggles. So many of us have the urge to punch back extremely harder when harm is done to us. We shouldn’t fight evil with evil because it accomplishes nothing but a reckoning of hate.

Not many people like having to pick up a tab for somebody else, especially if they can’t afford it. Paying for the death penalty should seriously be out of the question when my tax money can go somewhere else, instead of putting a man to death. Why would I want to blow through $5 million to put someone to death? The average amount for someone who has lived in prison totals up to roughly $500,000. Isn’t that much better from a financial standpoint. Since 1978 California alone has spent $4 billion on death penalty cases alone(Alarcon & Mitchell, 2011).

Moreover, the lack of money to pay for legal representation for someone who is not adequate enough is a huge problem. Because why have a court-appointed lawyer when the lawyer has no experience or is not invested to represent someone. It’s even more concerning when they fail to give just and proper representation, merely because the death penalty is involved. Race without a doubt plays a major role in defense and convictions. “In 96% of states where there have been reviews of race and the death penalty, there was a pattern of either race-of-victim or race-of-defendant discrimination, or both. (Prof. Baldus report to the ABA, 1998).”

Location can determine whether he or she gets the death penalty. Consistent with previous years, the 2016 FBI Uniform Crime Report showed that the south had the highest murder rate and accounts for over 80% of all executions in the United States. 88% of these experts rejected the notion that the death penalty acts as a deterrent to murder (Radelet & Lacock, 2009).

The death penalty has become a mechanism for politicians to favor or oppose when campaigning just to get votes. Many parts of society in favor of capital punishment want candidates to be tough on crime when there are many alternatives to the death penalty.

The United States loves to embellish how much better they are than the rest of the world. In reality, the United States is not much better, especially when it comes to capital punishment. It is 1 of six countries to execute their juveniles. This country joins the main focus of the axis of evils such as Iran to continue using the death penalty. According to the Guardian newspaper the statistics in 2012, 680 executions were carried out, 314 carried out in Iran and 43 in the United States. These execution methods included hanging, electrocution, lethal injection and shooting by firing squad at close range to the head or the heart. What we need to do as a country is say what we mean and say we cannot stand by and allow travesties to continue domestically or internationally. Tunisia which had 125 people on death row the guardian claims has their sentences commuted to life in prison. More states in America are starting to not use the death penalty as frequent, according to Sylvia Hui a writer for the Huffing Post says, “1 in 10 countries in 2012 carried out the death penalty.”

Many families may want the prosecutor to push for the death penalty because they feel they need to do so to maintain justice for their loved one. However, in reality, they regret it because much of the details brought forth through the appeals process forces the family to live through it all over again down the road or forces them to hear or see new evidence that was not disclosed to them. Many people believe in the eye for an eye moniker. Is it really necessary for one family to put another family through so much grief as well? The question that arises from that does it do the victim justice. I don’t believe a human should have the right to take another humans life.

What if I didn’t commit the crime, then what? I’ve gotten charged with 1st-degree murder and sentenced to death. How fair is that? Once I die, the state cannot bring me back. If the state is killing me for something I didn’t do in the name of the victim and the greater good of society, then who is culpable for restitution of our loved ones? There’s prosecutorial immunity so that’s out once they discover “I” was not responsible. Are people so emotional that they wish death upon others when deciding to impose the death penalty? A person would never allow their children to hit others or be disciplined in any way where it causes harm, unless its some sort of self-defense. No jury, judge or prosecutor should ever have a say in the death of another person, ever. Franklin Zimring pointed out in chapter 8, “the battle to end the era of killing as criminal punishment in the United States may be easy or difficult, but in either event, it seems well worth its efforts to bring it to a close (204).”

We as a country are on the verge of true stagnation, because man has not progressed for some time. So many people want to progress in 2018 and so many are choosing to regress. We possess some of the same thoughts and ideas as if it was so long ago that it is needed to transfer in a new era of progression and true mix of old and new to bring great balance. A character in one of the books of Ayne Rand, John Galt said, “man has the power to act as his own destroyer and that is how he has acted through most of his history.”

I’ve had my personal scares with death through my life, and the lessons I learned is I live life for today, not tomorrow. I believe in life and fight for it, but most importantly I just want to live my life no matter what happens in it. It is not anyone else’s right humanly or ethically to take that life away from me except my God. Everyone is afraid to die regardless of what they say, no one can prepare themselves for it.

  • Oklahoma capital cases cost, on average, 3.2 times more than non-capital cases. (Study prepared by Peter A. Collins, Matthew J. Hickman, and Robert C. Boruchowitz, with research support by Alexa D. O’Brien, for the Oklahoma Death Penalty Review Commission, 2017.)
  • Defense costs for death penalty trials in Kansas averaged about $400,000 per case, compared to $100,000 per case when the death penalty was not sought. (Kansas Judicial Council, 2014).
  • A study in California revealed that the cost of the death penalty in the state has been over $4 billion since 1978. The study considered pre-trial and trial costs, costs of automatic appeals and state habeas corpus petitions, costs of federal habeas corpus appeals, and costs of incarceration on death row. (Alarcon & Mitchell, 2011).
  • Enforcing the death penalty costs Florida $51 million a year above what it would cost to punish all first-degree murderers with life in prison without parole. Based on the 44 executions Florida had carried out since 1976, that amounts to a cost of $24 million for each execution. (Palm Beach Post, January 4, 2000).
  • The most comprehensive study in the country found that the death penalty costs North Carolina $2.16 million per execution over the costs of sentencing murderers to life imprisonment. The majority of those costs occur at the trial level. (Duke University, May 1993).
  • In Texas, a death penalty case costs an average of $2.3 million, about three times the cost of imprisoning someone in a single cell at the highest security level for 40 years. (Dallas Morning News, March 8, 1992)

61% of Americans say that they would prefer alternatives to the death penalty, preferring life without the possibility of parole. Texas, Florida, Georgia, and Alabama are the only states who have executed someone in 2018 so far, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Death penalty sentences have dropped significantly from 2008to0 sentences compared to 2017 with just 39 (BOJ).

Works Cited

Hart, Benjamin, and Sylvia Hui. “Death Penalty Report Sees Progress In Abolishing Capital Punishment.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 10 Apr. 2013. Web. 03 Dec. 2013.

Rogers, Simon. “Death Penalty Statistics, Country by Country.” The Guardian. The Guardian, 12 Apr. 2013. Web. 01 Dec. 2013.

Dallas Morning News, March 8, 1992.

Duke University, May 1993.

Palm Beach Post, January 4, 2000.

Alarcon & Mitchell, 2011.

Kansas Judicial Council, 2014.

A study prepared by Peter A. Collins, Matthew J. Hickman, and Robert C. Boruchowitz, with research support by Alexa D. O’Brien, for the Oklahoma Death Penalty Review Commission, 2017.

Bureau of Justice Statistics: “Capital Punishment, 2013.” 2014 – 2017 figure from DPIC research.

Radelet & Lacock, 2009.

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2 thoughts on “The Death Penalty – A Perspective”

  1. Hi John,

    “What if I didn’t commit the crime, then what?” That us really big question.One of the postulates of criminal law is “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer”.

    1. And that’s where the problem hurdles, we aren’t a football team.

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