Dzhokhar Tsarnaev may still face the death penalty depending on how negotiations go. (stream47, Creative Commons)
With James Holmes' impending sentencing, and Dzhokar Tsarnaev's trial coming up, there has been a renewed interest in the capital punishment debate. With so much opposition, it is important to look at the points of contention and understand why we should not get rid of the death penalty.
Many of the arguments used against the death penalty are fundamentally flawed; for example, some people who oppose the death penalty cite religious reasons for abolishing it.
Regardless of the argument, religion has absolutely no place in our government or legal system. We are a country founded on the separation of church and state, and despite how murky the waters are in a lot of areas concerning religion and law, we should be doing everything in our power to keep religion and religious ideals out of government if we expect to continue being a country with religious freedom and tolerance.
Then there is the argument that despite the lengthy and complex judicial process for seeking the death penalty, it is still not possible to guarantee that an innocent person will not be sentenced. That might be true, but there are extensive appeals processes in place for exactly that reason.
It is also argued that the appeals process is a strain on taxpayers, costing more than just sentencing them to life without the possibility of parole, as well as a strain on the court system. However, death penalty cases account for only 1% of appellate court caseloads in both courts of last resort and intermediate appellate courts, so they are clearly not that great of a strain on the courts, nor on taxpayers.
While the death penalty should be maintained, it is important that stipulations be made on how it is implemented. Many people wonder if victims and their families should have any say in whether or not prosecutors seek the death penalty. In the Holmes case, Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler personally talked to 60 family members of the Aurora victims and his office as a whole reached out to about 800 relatives of the victims in order to help them make this decision. It is my personal opinion that victims and those related to victims in any way should not have a say, because then you are dealing with vengeance, not justice. Once that line is crossed, it is not fair to say that someone should be put to death because it is not decided by an unbiased, unrelated third party.
A related issue is whether or not the lawyers themselves should have a say. Tsarnaev's attorney is a well-known advocate against the death penalty. It is now rumored that due to recent negotiations, the death penalty may not be sought in exchange for more information surrounding the bombings.
Attorneys should not be allowed a say in whether the death penalty is sought or not either, because while negotiations may happen in any case, it is not fair that one person who commits a heinous crime would not have the death penalty considered because his attorney is personally opposed to it, while other people will have the death penalty considered because their attorneys are doing their jobs and being unbiased in their work.
Involving either the attorney or a victim's family in the death penalty decision both also completely undermine the judicial system and the processes put in place for settling matters such as these.
When push comes to shove, capital punishment is a touchy subject and there are many factors that work together when figuring out if it is right or not. It seems that in the end, however, it is the only fair way to deal with certain criminals past the point of moral reason. It is truly the only way to show that in this country, murder and terrorism will not be tolerated.
Reach Contributor Jordan Gary here.
Death Penalty Should Not Be Banned
Next to the banned books, the legal drinking age and child abortions one of the most publicly debated issue is the death penalty. What is the death penalty? It is the highest type of punishment for a murderer or convicted felon to be punished by our government legally, through death. So, who favors it? In Taylor's essay there is a survey conducted recently about public's opinions toward the statues of capital punishment in the United States, from the result done by the Harrison poll it shown that more than two - thirds of Americans still supports the death penalty. The result are kind of surprising due to it's huge numbers and supports; considering that most of the voice hear from the public when the question asked legal statues of capital punishment is usually abolish it. What is my personal take on this ongoing issue? Well, along with two hundred millions of American currently alive, I support capital punishment. Capital punishment has the potential to lower crime rates; it could provide a safer society for us and make us realize the value of life.
My first decision for supporting the death penalty is it's correlation to the crime rate in a country where it exists. According to Badinter's essay, the United Nations currently has one hundred and eighty nine countries in its membership and among them one hundred and eight is already joining the list of the countries to abolish capital punishment and the United States is not part of it and we should not be. Is banning capital punishment good for a country? Let's take a look at the United Kingdom, our cousin over the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Unlike us, the United Kingdom has already abolished the death penalty and how is the statue of crime rate in their country? According to the Machin and Meghir's essay, in the United Kingdom their crime rate had increased rapidly through the 1970s and the 1980s, the increase is far greater than the rest of the Europe and unexpected. From another essay "Crime of almost every variety has increased enormously over the past 80 years in England" (Wolpin, 815). A country's reputation usually comes from its wealth, law system and criminal rates. In a country where the crime rate is high, it usually means its law system is poorly constructed, when the law system is not functioning well, the commerce of its country will be affected. Capital punishment, Crime rate, law system and one country's health is all connected, like a food chain. Capital punishment is capable of deterrent criminal action and it can lower the crime rate, so it is in our best interests not to abolishes it but, keep it.
My second argument for keeping capital punishment is that it can provide a safer environment for us. How many times has something like this appeared in a national television show or newspapers about a recently captured killer walks free from death because he planned the whole murder plot purposely in a state where capital punishment do not exist? I bet many of us have either heard of it or seen it before. Many killers plan their plots ahead of time, because they know even if they get caught by the policeman they are not going to be faced with a capital punishment. It is simply due to the fact that many states in the America have not yet legalized capital punishment. As sad as it is, it is even more depressing that though we operate in democracy, one of the finest government? We still have holes in our system. When the killers are captured in the states without capital punishment the highest type of sentence they can be punished with is a life in prison. Are they really done causing harm in our society? One who is a killer will always be a killer and even if they are in prison their next target could be the inmates or the guards. What is the difference between one life sentence and two to the prisoners, when an average human is only going to live no more than one hundred year? One of the many reason for a killer for returning to murder again is recidivism. Recidivism is from someone who had the tendency "To return to a previous pattern of behavior, especially to return to criminal habits" (dictionary).
According to Koch's essay in 1981, there are 91 police officers killed while in duty and the cases that were solved showed that seven percent of the convicts had a history of homicide. Also in Koch's essay in between 1976 and 1977 in the Big Apple, 85 persons arrested for homicide had a previous arrest for murder, six had two previous arrests for murder and one had four previous murder arrests. So how long do we hold these convicts in prison? Based on twentieth century fund survey the average time the prisoner served in the United States for a first degree murder is only ten years, and the lower degree murder charge means an even shorter sentence time in many case and states. What happens to those who get out after such short times of imprisonment? As stated before the killers are most likely to kill again. What should we do? We should enforce capital punishment in our country and in every state. There are no perfect men in this world but in order to protect the others we need to eliminate those who are recidivate to kill, we need to look at the bigger picture for the greater good.
My last reason to sustain the death penalty is it will make us realize the value of life.
From a biology course, we have learned that our bodies are all make up of small cells, and inside the cell it carries the true identity of each of us, the DNA. DNA is what make out of the all the chromosomes. In our genes we have 46 pairs of normal chromosomes and 23 pairs of sex chromosomes. How are we given to birth? We are magically formed when the 23 pairs of sex chromosomes from our male parent interact with the 23 pairs of sex chromosome of our female parents. Since we all have different parents, so we are all made up of different DNA, it is safe to say we are all different. Just like my biology professor said we are all made up of different components, each one of us is unique, special and equal. Since we are all equal, why should the murderer not pay with his own life when he takes away his victims?
Some people say that life in prison harder on the prisoner than the death penalty. According to Koch's essay it is not true; most convicted killers try to appeal the death penalty up to the last minute. Many of them make every effort to stay away from death. Why is that? It is because what else is more important than being alive. Also in Koch's essay the convict sometimes even try to bring us down to their level by begging for their life. The convict said: "if you kill me you are no better than I am." Regardless of what they try to say, it is certainly that all they want is to have another chance to be able to breathe the air we breathe in and walk the same ground we are standing on. To those who think that capital punishment cheapens the value of human life, they are wrong; instead it has the opposite effect.
Before we were civilized, in our history it was not uncommon to see capital punishment act as a law to penalize the convicted. Capital punishment exists because many of us believed that the justice for murder is one life for another one. The misconception many opponents have used to argue the opposing force regarding capital punishment is the execution of innocent people. According to a man called Adam Bedau this is a myth. He had proved it wrong with his research studies. He reviewed 7000 cases and none of them had shown a sign of innocence. Capital punishment is not an act we wish to act upon to a single soul but it is the best way to keep the killer out of society and prevent any further more murderers. Does the death penalty deter crime? From Hagg's essay "Thought we have no proof of the positive deterrence of the death penalty, we also have no proof of zero or negative effectiveness" (286). If we have no proof of showing a negative effect of capital punishment on crime rate it does not mean it would not help to lowering it at all. We need to understand that the best way to prevent any possible murders happen in the future is to not let killers walk free. Death penalty makes us notice the seriousness of a crime and the valuable of life. According to Scobell's essay, capital punishment seems to have a mere impacted in China, where the main advantage of its usage is to counter the illegal activities. When we executed a death penalty, we are making an example out of one prisoner. The message that the government officials wished to send out to the other criminals and civilians is that there will be penalty for a crime and those we don't value others life will be punished.
You've written a good essay! Here are some editing tips (some changes are in bold) :
Next to the banned books, the legal drinking age and child abortions, [add comma] one of the most publicly debated issues is the death penalty.
In Taylor's essay there is a survey conducted recently about public opinion toward capital punishment statutes in the United States, from the result done by the Harrison poll - This is very awkward; better would be: Taylor's essay contains results of a Harris poll about public opinion toward capital punishment laws. [check this, but I think you'll find it's Harris, not Harrison]
The result are kind of surprising due to it's huge numbers and supports; considering that most of the voice hear from the public when the question asked legal statues of capital punishment is usually abolish it. - I think I understand what you are trying to say, but the English is a little garbled. Better would be "These results are surprising, considering that most people, when asked, say they think capital punishment should be abolished." (At least, I think that's what you meant.)
In the paragraph where you mention the increase in the UK crime rate, I had to wonder, though, if the crimes which have increased are crimes for which the punishment was formerly death. If crimes which were punished not by capital punishment, but by prison, have gone up, how is abolishing capital punishment to blame? And hasn't crime increased greatly in the U.S. during the same period?
our bodies are all made up of small cells
DNA is what make out of the all the chromosomes. - I'm not sure, but I think you meant to say "DNA is what all of our chromosomes are made of."
My suggestion is that you read the essay out loud to a friend who is a native English speaker, someone who can point out the grammatical errors for you. Unfortunately, on this free site, there is a limit to how much in-depth editing we can provide.
I hope this helps!