Capital Punishment Essay - Part 2
Punishment, is the execution of criminals by the state, for
Capital Punishment deters murder, and is just Retribution - Capital Punishment Essay introduction.
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Capital committing crimes, regarded so heinous, that this is the only
acceptable punishment. Capital punishment does not only lower the
murder rate, but it’s value as retribution alone is a good reason for
handing out death sentences. Support for the death penalty in the
U.S. has risen to an average of 80% according to an article written by
Richard Worsnop, entitled “Death penalty debate centers on
Retribution”, this figure is slightly lower in Canada where support
for the death penalty is at 72% of the population over 18 years of
age, as stated in article by Kirk Makir, in the March 26, 1987 edition
of the Globe and Mail, titled “B.C. MPs split on Death Penalty”.
The death penalty deters murder by putting the fear of death
into would be killers. A person is less likely to do something, if he
or she thinks that harm will come to him. Another way the death
penalty deters murder, is the fact that if the killer is dead, he will
Most supporters of the death penalty feel that offenders should
be punished for their crimes, and that it does not matter whether it
will deter the crime rate. Supporters of the death penalty are in
favor of making examples out of offenders, and that the threat of
death will be enough to deter the crime rate, but the crime rate is
According to Isaac Ehrlich’s study, published on April 16,
1976, eight murders are deterred for each execution that is carried
out in the U.S.A. He goes on to say, “If one execution of a guilty
capital murderer deters the murder of one innocent life, the execution
is justified.” To most supporters of the death penalty, like Ehrlich,
if even 1 life is saved, for countless executions of the guilty, it is
a good reason for the death penalty. The theory that society engages
in murder when executing the guilty, is considered invalid by most
supporters, including Ehrlich. He feels that execution of convicted
offenders expresses the great value society places on innocent life.
Isaac Ehrlich goes on to state that racism is also a point used
by death penalty advocates. We will use the U.S. as examples, since
we can not look at the inmates on death row in Canada, because their
are laws in Canada that state that crime statistics can not be based
on race, also the fact that there are no inmates on death row in
Canada. In the U.S. 16 out of 1000 whites arrested for murder are
sentenced to death, while 12 of 1000 blacks arrested for murder were
sentenced to death. 1.1% of black inmates on death row were executed,
while 1.7% of white inmates will die.
Another cry for racism, as according to Ehrlich, that is raised
by advocates of the death penalty is based on the color of the
victim, for example “if the victim is white, it is more likely that
the offender will get the death penalty than if the victim had been
black”. This is true, if you look at the actual number of people who
are murder. More people kill whites and get the death penalty, then
people who kill blacks and get the death penalty. The reason for this
is that more whites are killed, and the murders captured. Now if we
look at the number of blacks killed it is a lot less, but you have
to look at these numbers proportionately. Percent wise it is almost
the same number for any race, so this is not the issue.
In a 1986 study done by Professor Stephen K. Layson of the
University of North Carolina, the conclusions made by Ehrilich were
updated, and showed to be a little on the low side as far as the
deterrence factor of capital punishment. Professor Layson found that
18 murders were deterred by each execution is the U.S. He also found
that executions increase in probability of arrest, conviction, and
other executions of heinous offenders.
According to a statement issued by George C. Smith, Director of
Litigation, Washington Legal Foundation, titled “In Support of the
Death Penalty”, support for the death penalty has grown in the U.S.,
as the crime rate increased. In 1966, 42% of Americans were in favor
of capital punishment while 47% were opposed to it. Since the crime
rate United States has increased, support for the capital punishment
has followed suit. In 1986, support for capital punishment was 80%
for and only 17% against with 3% undecided, but most of the undecided
votes said they were leaning toward a pro capital punishment stance,
if they had to vote on it immediately.
Let us now focus on Canada. The last two people to be
executed, in Canada were Arthur Lucas and Ron Turpin. They were
executed on December 11, 1962. The executions in Canada were carried
out by hanging. The death penalty was abolished in Canada in the
latter part of 1976, after a debate that lasted 98 hours. The death
penalty was only beaten by 6 votes. If we look back to 1976, the year
the death penalty was abolished in Canada, threats of death were
being made to Members of Parliament and their immediate families from
pro death penalty advocates. Most members of parliament, voted on
their own personal feelings, as opposed to the views of their voters.
The same was the case in British Colombia, where accepting of
the death penalty, if it was reinstated 1987 , by the federal
government was discussed. The M.P.s were split, 17 out of 29 were for
the death penalty. This showed, that even the majority of the M.P.s
were in favor of the death penalty in B.C. Support for the death
penalty in British Columbia at the time was almost 70%, but the M.P.s
felt that it was up to them to vote how they felt was right, and not
to vote on which vote would give them the best chance for a second
In 1987, the Progressive Conservative government wanted to hold
a free vote on the reinstatement of Capital punishment, but Justice
minister Ray Hnatyshyn, who was opposed to it, pressured the M.P.s,
into voted against the bill. Ray Hnatyshyn, was the deciding factor,
if not for him, it was widely believed that the reinstatement of
capital punishment would have gone through, and the death penalty
Capital punishment is such a volatile issue, and both sides are
so deeply rooted in their views that they are willing to do almost
anything to sway all of the people they can to their side.
We personally feel, and our views are backed up by proof, in
the form of studies by the likes of Isaac Ehrlich’s 1975 and Prof.
Stephen K. Layson’s, that was published in 1986, and polls that have
been taken both in Canada and the United States over the past few
years. All of these studies and surveys show that capital punishment
is a valid deterrent to crime, and obviously the public, and society
as a whole are in favor of it. The death penalty makes would be
capital offenders think about weather committing a crime is really
worth their lives. Even if capital punishment did not deter crime,
the simple fact that it will allow society to “get even” with murders.
Capital punishment also insures peace of mind because it insures that
1 From: Take Notice, (Copp Clarke Pitman Ltd., 1979) page 163
2 From: Article written by David Vienneau published in the March 24,
1987 edition of the “Toronto Star”, titled, Debate Agonizing for MPs.
3 From: Article written by Kirk Makir, published in March 26, 1987
edition of the “Globe and Mail”, titled, BC MPs Split on Death Penalty
4 From: Article written by Hugh Winsor, published in April 29, 1987
edition of the “Globe and Mail”, titled, Debate on Death Penalty
placed on hold.
Capital Punishment Essay - Part 2
The death penalty is something about which many people do not have a clear opinion - Capital Punishment Essay introduction. It is considered to be the punishment of execution, administered to someone convicted of a capital crime. Many people support the death penalty, while others wish for the death penalty to be abolished. My personal opinion on the death penalty is that it should be administered only in cases of certain crimes such as: serial murder, serial rape, and terrorism. Groups that support the death penalty often say that it deters criminals from committing future crimes like murders or other heinous crimes.
On the contrary, many criminals do not think of the consequences of their actions when they are committing a crime, nor do they care what happens to them after the crime has been committed. Amnesty International, which opposes the death penalty, reports that, “Scientific studies have not produced any conclusive evidence showing that capital punishment is a deterrent for future crimes to be committed. ” Nevertheless, the only deterrent for a murderer to not commit another heinous or viscous crime again would be execution by lethal injection, or by the way the victim died (The Innocence Project).
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Various people who are opposed to the death penalty also say that capital punishment sometimes condemns the innocent to die. According to Amendment five in the United States Bill of Rights, “No person shall be held to answer for a capital crime, or otherwise infamous crime unless on a presentment of an indictment of a grand jury”, except in military cases. Even though it is true that a few innocent people have “slipped through the cracks” of the justice system, and had been convicted and executed unfairly, it is extremely unlikely that this type of predicament would happen.
By the time that all appeals are exhausted, it is most likely that the attorneys will find new evidence to support alleged criminals innocence from examining the case over and over again. Its adversaries have called capital punishment cruel and unusual, but many people in this society disagree. According to Amendment five in the United States Bill of Rights, “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” (The Innocence Project).
Even with this amendment in place many people question the constitutionality of capital punishment because of Amendment eight which states, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted” (The Innocence Project). The question has arisen concerning the morality of capital punishment. From the Christian perspective, the Bible should be looked to for answers on the morality of capital punishment. God instituted capital punishment in the book of Leviticus 24:17 and Leviticus 24:20-21.
Verse seventeen of Leviticus twenty four says, “And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death” (The English Standard Version Bible). Verses twenty and twenty one of Leviticus twenty four say, “Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again” (The English Standard Version Bible). “And he that killeth a beast, he shall restore it: and he that killeth a man, he shall be put to death” (The English Standard Version Bible). The bias of the American as well as International judicial systems is a major cause of worry regarding capital punishment.
Amendment six in the United States Bill of Rights states, “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed” (The English Standard Version Bible). Christians say that they should obey the government no matter what their decision may be, unless it goes against the Bible. God instituted the judicial system to provide fair punishments for crimes. Romans 13:1 says “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.
For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God” (The English Standard Version Bible). This verse tells people that the government has the authority to instigate capital punishment if they feel it is necessary, and they should comply with their decision. Many are disturbed by the execution of mentally challenged or incompetent criminals. The U. S Supreme Court on June 20, 2002 declared that the execution of the mentally challenged is unconstitutional, as well as cruel and unusual punishment. The “criminal” is usually pardoned when further evidence comes out.
An incident of this happening is the case of David Vasquez. David Vasquez was arrested for the murder of a woman who was killed in her Arlington County, Virginia home. She was sexually assaulted and then hung. Vasquez, who was borderline mentally retarded, had reportedly confessed to the crime, allegedly supplying details not released to the public. Additionally, Vasquez could not provide an alibi and was placed near the scene of the crime by two eyewitnesses. Investigators also found pubic hairs that visually resembled those of Vasquez.
Vasquez’s attorneys argued that the interrogations were tainted because of his lower than normal intelligence. Friends said that he reacts to the world like a young child and that he is easily flustered under pressure. He was described in court as having “borderline retarded/low normal” intelligence. He was so scared of being executed that he pled guilty to a crime he did not commit. Because of this “confession,” David Vasquez spent five years in prison before he was pardoned. DNA testing was performed on evidence collected from other crimes where the perpetrator used the same methods used in the murder for which Vasquez was convicted.
Testing led to a man convicted for two other rape/murders. The prosecution joined with defense attorneys to secure a pardon for Vasquez, which was granted in 1989 (The Innocence Project). I support the death penalty in special cases, and I believe also that the guilt of the criminal should be proved beyond the shadow of a doubt, which is the constitutional way of life.
The English Standard Version Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments with Apocrypha. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. Print.