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DNA and capital punishment

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Introduction

´╗┐Baker Lisa Baker Eva Barnett CW 111-1:00 25 June 2012 Capital Punishment and DNA Capital punishment is the sentence of death upon a person by judicial process as a punishment for an offense (Capital Punishment). The death penalty is a very controversial issue. There are individuals who hold justice above human life and those who hold human life over justice. There are those for and against the death penalty for many reasons. Take a moment and think about a couple of instances. Darby Gillis was convicted of murder of a hot dog vendor in Chicago. A witness placed him at the scene of the crime. Ronald Jones was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder and rape of a young woman. He confessed to the crime. Open and shut cases, right? Not necessarily. What if DNA is present? In the case of Darby Gillis the witness was protecting her boyfriend who committed the murder. Ronald Jones confessed to the crime because the confession was beaten out of him by the police officers (Brooks). ...read more.

Middle

An impaired mental state due to mental illness, drugs or alcohol may also elicit false admissions of guilt. (Cardozo) Eyewitness misidentification occurs because people are truly mistaken, paid to say something else, or trying to get a lesser sentence for themselves. A survey conducted of jail informants showed that 85% would say what they thought the lawyers and police officers wanted to hear so they could get a lesser sentence. After careful investigation of the informants stories most proved to be fabricated.Some are paid to say something else to cover for someone they know. Those who are truly mistaken are some of the fewer cases of misidentification (Top 10 Pros and Cons: Should the death penalty be allowed?). Defendants get bad legal representation because lawyers either have never tried a capital case or they didn?t have the skills and resources needed. Prosecutors who are very strict in their belief of the death penalty may not care that their defendant may be innocent. The defense's resources are often severely limited by state spending allowances. ...read more.

Conclusion

As of June 2002 thirty-eight states has authorized the death penalty. Twelve states are still without it. Since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976, eighty-seven people have been freed from death row due to DNA evidence. That is one in seven people on death row! The average cost for one execution case is about $3.2 million over the costs of a life imprisonment case. The execution case includes pretrial time, experts, and attorneys, two trials (one for guilt and one for punishment), and appeals (Top 10 Pros and Cons: Should the death penalty be allowed?). In capital cases the goal should be to make sure that justice is served and fair. The defendant should have the opportunity to prove his or her innocence by DNA evidence. If this is properly carried out then there should be no doubt in our minds that we might be putting someone who is innocent to death. Even if just one innocent person is put to death is it still worth the risk? Is that life worth so little? If there is no DNA proof then the person should not be put to death. ...read more.

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