Throughout history, societies have punished criminals by executing them, but today many countries have abolished the death penalty. In the united States however, the federal government and many of the states continue to sentence convicted criminals to death. This leads us to the question: Should the government have the power to sentence convicted criminals to death? Before we approach this question lets take a look at the history of the death penalty and other factors that could affect the answer to this question.
Although the first case of capital punishment is not documented, we know that it was rough to North America by European colonist In the 18th century. In Europe, murderers, thieves, spies, alleged witches, and over 100 other so-called “crimes” were punished by death. Although hanging was the most common form of execution, other methods such as stoning, beheading, burning at the stake or being broken on a wheel were used. Hangings usually took place at high noon on a main street or in a town square to be viewed by the public. They were excitedly watched as If It were a new episode of the sopranos.
In fact public executions often turned into outdoor activates in which the city advertised the execution through posters, handbills, and notices in newspapers. In the sass’s after being convicted and sentenced to death, unlike today, you would be executed usually within less than a week. Executions moved through from hanging and other methods to electrocution. When in 1889, New York passed the electrical Execution Act, which declared death by the electric chair as the state’s new method of execution. As with many other ways of executing people, this way is both cruel and unusual punishment.
Although there are any instances were cruel and unusual punishment were used, I am going to give you one example and let you Judge for yourself. In August of 1 890 the first man to be sentenced to the electric chair was William Skimmer. This execution did not go smoothly, as the current was not set strong enough, and had to be stopped and started several times. After approximately 10 minutes of this torture he died. As more humane ways of executing criminals came about such as the gas chamber, firing squad and lethal injection came about, there was a short period of time, from 1972 to 977 where there were no executions.
Capital punishment was outlawed as result of the Farman vs.. Georgia case. This victory was short-lived as the court’s decision in Gregg vs.. Georgia upheld the death penalty, which has been legal ever since. It is up to each state to determine whether to impose the death penalty and in what ways to execute criminals. Slide #3 In the 38 states and federal government that currently have death penalty’s statutes, five different methods of execution are prescribed: Slide #4 Lethal Injection, Electrocution, Lethal gas, Firing Squad, and Hanging.
Now that we know more about the death penalty, should the government have the 1 OFF should have the power to take another person’s life and here’s some of the many reason’s why. As mentioned before many executions are botched, making these inhumane executions even more crude. Slide #6 One of the most famous botched executions occurred in 1906 in Minnesota. A convicted murderer had been sentenced to death for murder. At 12:31, the hanging began in which the trap door swung free, dropping Williams with a rope tied around his neck. But my mistake, the rope had been cut to Eng and Williams hit the ground.
The guards standing on the scaffold pulled Williams up and held him above the ground for 14 minutes before he died, Some way to go! Even as technology evolved, such as with the electric chair, botched executions did not stop as with the example mentioned previously. Another botched execution took place much more recently in 1990, where in Florida witnesses watching an electrocution saw flames and sparks erupt from the prisoner’s head. The same thing also occurred in 1997, only 7 years ago. Problems persist even with methods such as Ethel injection, as there are non-medical personnel who perform the procedure.
As you have heard me make reference to numerous times is the 18th amendment, which states: Slide #7 “excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted. Although new technology has made executions less cruel and unusual, the fact is that they still are. One reason is that the United States is one of the few industrialized countries that still allow it, which in essence make’s it “unusual. ” But then again execution itself is unusual, for the usual punishment would be a Jail term.
Another reason the death penalty should be abolished deals with issues of Justice and fairness. Slide #8 The fact is that a very small percentage of convicted murderers are ever put to death. This makes the death penalty seem more like a game of chance then Justice. The actually chance of being sentenced to death for a murder conviction is about 1 in 33. The fact is there is simply no way too fairly apply the death penalty. Juries comprised of everyday people like you and me are for there first times in their lives forced to decide whether another person should live or die.
Many people argue the death penalty deters criminals from murdering, which may have been true in earlier days when executions where public and humiliating. Slide #9 In today’s age, people are executed via the penalty, often times unnoticed. And if by chance it is noticed, its is forgotten very quickly. Statistics also show that state’s with the death penalty, such as Illinois did in 1990, showed a far higher rate of murder then it’s two neighboring states, Wisconsin and Iowa who do no impose the death penalty. Also many murders are not premeditated, which means they were not leaned and occurred impulsively out of hatred, greed or Jealousy.
In this large majority of the cases, the death penalty is the last thing on the criminals mind. Another injustice with the death penalty is bias against the poor. Slide #10 The truth expense of appealing a death sentence can be very high sometimes in the millions. For the criminals that cannot afford lawyers of their own, they must use state appointed lawyers who are inexperienced and overworked, leaving little time and effort to defend their clients. People who are wealthy can afford good lawyers who an research and investigate the crime more in depth to help win the case.
This happens more often than we would like to know, as we often times see movie stars and other rich people getting off the hook, for example let’s say OX.. Simpson. Of the many reason’s why the death penalty should be abolished, the last one I will discuss is the most important, executing the innocent. Slide As the quote goes “to err is human,” state’s the known truth that we wall make mistakes, even our government and courts. If an innocent man is Jailed, although not Justified, his conviction can be reversed and he can be released from Jail.
If a man is executed and new evidence comes about, or a new witness appears, it’s too late, the man is already dead. This is not being said Just as a scare tactic, because people have been executed in which were afterwards found innocent. If you could only try to imagine paying the ultimate price of your life for a crime you did not commit. Since 1973, over 100 people have been released from death row with evidence of their innocence. Lucky for them the appeal process worked, some are not so lucky. The death penalty might be more Just if there were no alternatives to the death anally, but fortunately there are.
Slide #12 Instead of execution, dangerous criminals should suffer life imprisonment without parole. In some ways, this sentence can be even harsher than death, as we all know that emotional pain is often times worst then physical pain. I believe the death penalty gives criminals the easy way out, as many criminals try to kill themselves in Jail. Living inside a crowded prison in a small cell is a slow death in itself. Restitution is an additional sentence to life in prison, in which the prisoners must turn over to the families all their money they sake and earn.
With this criminals should be forced to work, with the money they make going to the families. Slide #13 In conclusion, the death penalty, or should I say murder by government must be abolished. In the 21st century, with all out inventions and technology, there must be a punishment more fit than the primitive death penalty. I will leave you with this quote, which I actually saw on a sticker on a stop sign some ten ears ago, in which I have remembered ever since: Slide #14 Why do we kill people, Who kill people, To show that killing people, Is wrong