Essay, Research Paper: Death Penalty

Legal Issues

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December 12, 1984, the first jolt failed to kill Alpha Otis Stephens, he
struggled for eight minutes before a second jolt finished the job. The first
jolt took two minutes, and then there was a six-minute pause. During this
six-minute pause body could cool before physicians could examine him and declare
that another jolt was needed. Stephens took 23 breaths, during that six-minute
interval. Such incidents prove that the death penalty constitutes cruel and
unusual punishment and should be replaced by life in prison. The following
reasons prove that the death penalty harms rather than helps any quest for a
just, humane society. The Bible requires the death penalty for a wide variety of
crimes, including sex before marriage, adultery, and homosexual behavior, doing
work on Saturday and murder.Somehow people became more tolerant; they eliminated
the death penalty for several sins. Sins such as the following: - Pre-marital
sex - Practicing a different religion - Prostitution - Blasphemy - Adultery
People might as well eliminate the death penalty for murder as well. In fact,
according to the Bible an individual who dies without being "saved"
(during an execution) will go to Hell for eternal punishment. By killing the
person, we are eliminating some individuals' chance for salvation. Human life
has intrinsic value, even if a person has murdered another. Nobody should ever
be killed, even by the state. Moreover, human beings such as the poor, males,
and racial minorities are over-represented among those executed. A study of over
2 dozen convicted criminals on death row found that all had been so seriously
abused during childhood that they probably all suffered from brain damage. To
further this subject, women convicted of murder are almost never executed. For
instance, in March 1998 Judy Beenano aged 54 in Florida, was called the
"Black Widow" for poisoning her husband, drowning her son and trying
to blow up her fiancé. She was the first woman to be executed in Florida since
1848. It seems that the death penalty is reserved for men. 1986 study in Georgia
showed that persons who killed "whites were four times more likely to be
sentenced to death than convicted killers of non-whites." Even so, many
convicted murderers are later found innocent, and have been pardoned. Is
impossible to pardon a corpse? In 1987, a study published by the Stanford Law
Review found at least 350 people between 1900 and 1985 in America were innocent
of the crime for which they were convicted, and could have been sentenced to
death. 139 "were sentenced to death and as many as 23 were executed."
Finally, Many people feel that the death penalty will deter criminals from
killing. Yet, the death penalty has not been shown to be effective in the
reduction of the homicide rate. Does the death penalty deter homicides? People
murder for various reasons and under many different situations: - during
domestic disputes, when passions are inflamed - Under the influence of alcohol
or other drugs, when the individual is not in rational control. - Hit men
murdering doing contract killings; they typically never expect to be arrested. -
psychopaths and other mentally ill individuals who have little regard for human
life and who cannot accept responsibility for their actions - self-destructive
individuals who believe that they deserve to die and want to be arrested and
executed - brain-damaged individuals, who experience periods of rage, and
occasionally kill With the exception of professional hit men, very few people
are in a rational frame of mind when they kill others. It may be hopeless to
expect any form of punishment to act as a deterrent. In summary, the death
penalty constitutes cruel and unusual punishment and should therefore be
replaced by life in prison for the reasons of the Bible, sending a person to
hell, value of human life, unfairness, chance of error, and lack of deterrence.
Nobody knows how quickly a person dies from the electric shock, or what they
experience. The ACLU describes two cases where prisoners apparently lived for 4
to 10 minutes before expiring. If 4 to 10 minutes is not considered cruel and
unusual then what will be next? Will the execution of children and the mentally
ill be next?
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