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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: Law
  • Word count: 2893

Should Capital Punishment be enforced

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Joyce Au Meredith Morris Law & Society: Contemporary Debates 16 July 2009 Capital Punishment: Should capital punishment be enforced? Capital Punishment is defined by the Oxford English dictionary as the "legally authorized killing of someone as a punishment for a crime". Today, it has become a globally prevalent and intense topic of debate in the Criminal Justice System with numerous organizations and individuals' participation. Many deliberations have occurred, including the questionings of whether such acts are humane, and would often incorporate religious, emotional and economical concerns. Currently, the United States is one of the very few countries which continue to practice capital punishment, the main part being the southern states. This essay will be touching on the history of capital punishment, as well as the debate as to whether capital punishment should be enforced. It has been said that capital punishment in America was heavily influenced by Britain. The first established capital punishment laws dated back as far as the eighteenth century B.C.E., in the Code of King Hammurabi of Babylon, which coded 25 crimes punishable by death. The first known execution in America that was recorded dated back to 1608 when Captain George Kendall in the Jamestown colony of Virginia was executed for being a spy for Spain. In 1612, Virginia Governor Sir Thomas Dale increased the variety of offences made for capital punishment, and minor offences such as stealing of grapes, killing of chickens, and trading with Indians, also lead to the death sentence. Nowadays, the death penalty is almost exclusively used for the crime of murder. On the other hand, capital offenses exist in some state law for other crimes including treason, aggravated kidnapping, drug trafficking, aircraft hijacking, placing a bomb near the bus terminal, espionage and aggravated assault by incarcerated, persisted felons or murderers. ...read more.

Middle

There are times when mistakes are made, and those who are executed are found to innocent when they were charged guilty. In such cases, people who were executed would not be able to restore their life, and hence, many believe that capital punishment is not the right method to punish them for their wrongdoings. For this reason, there has also been a lack of jury convictions. There are cases where juries are unwilling to play their roles as they are afraid of charging an innocent guilty, and hence, if they were indeed criminals, they would end up being set lose on the street to harm people. Some other Christians may believe that Jesus changed or abolished the law and abolished the death penalty when he saved a prostitute from being stoned by saying, "Let he among you who is without sin, cast the first stone" (John chapter eight verse seven), and also when he stated "Judge not, that you be not judged" (Matthew chapter seven verse one). Another view that most people may bear is the thought that capital punishment is futile. People who support this view feel that killing one does not allow his victim to restore his life, and this would only mean another additional death, and this brings in the question whether it is humane to execute a person, and whether by executing them for their wrongdoings leads us to behaving like murders. In addition, states that have abolished capital punishment have better record on homicide rates. A survey was conducted by the New York Times in 2000, proving that ten of the twelve states without the use of capital punishment have homicide rates below national average, whereas half of the states with the death penalty have homicide rates above. ...read more.

Conclusion

Furthermore, the world we are living in is imperfect, and nothing that is worth having comes without a risk. If we were to give up on anything that had just minimal risks, then what could exactly can we continue with? For example, as human beings everyone risks the chance of getting into a plane crash when boarding the plane, however planes still continue to do its job up till today. Should it be banned? In conclusion, capital punishment has caused a lot of conflicting views, and when the decision of whether it should be legalized is involved, the safety of the society should be taken into consideration seriously. As Al Gore said in his presidential debate, "I support the death penalty. I think that it has to be administered not only fairly, with attention to things like DNA evidence, which I think should be used in all capital cases, but also with very careful attention. If the wrong guy is put to death, then that's a double tragedy. Not only has an innocent person been executed but the real perpetrator of the crime has not been held accountable for it, and in some cases may be still at large. But I support the death penalty in the most heinous cases." If capital punishment is used appropriately and justly and significantly decreases crime rates in the United States, then it should not be abolished. However, if it fails to play a role in society, it should not be continued in the society. Capital punishment should only be granted to those who commit the most heinous crimes and should only be for the sake of protection for the society. ?? ?? ?? ?? Au 1 ...read more.

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