• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Capital Punishment: Justice for All?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Capital Punishment: Justice for All? Capital punishment, also called the death penalty, is "death by execution" as stated in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. The death penalty is a sentence given to criminals charged with first degree murder, although most often than not, the majority of inmates on death row live years in a state penitentiary before their execution takes place. There are many historical changes, religious beliefs, and opposing view points held with the subject of capital punishment. The first established death penalty laws date as far back as the reign of King Hammaurabi in the eighteenth century B.C. There were as many as twenty-five different crimes all punishable by execution. Death sentences were performed by drowning, burning alive, stoning, crucifixion, impalement, and being beaten to death. Approximately 900 A.D., hanging lawbreakers became a much more popular method of the death sentence. The death penalty in America was introduced when European settlers came to the New World in the early 1600's. Specific crimes would sometimes guarantee a death sentence: suspected witchcraft, atheism, heresy, and homosexuality. However, present day governments worldwide have developed laws requiring quick and fair trials preceding the execution, dissimilar from the past when such orders were dealt with on- the-spot. The methods used currently differ greatly from earlier periods of history. The most common method of execution favored by most countries is lethal injection; other legal options available also include the electric chair, gas chambers, hanging, or a firing squad. ...read more.

Middle

These statistics represent an intolerable risk of executing the innocent. If an automobile manufacturer operated with similar failure rates, it would be run out of business. Our capital punishment system is unreliable. A recent study by Columbia University Law School found that "two thirds of all capital trials contained serious errors" (UCLS). When the cases were retried, over 80% of the defendants were not sentenced to death and 7% were completely acquitted. Many of the releases of innocent defendants from death row came about as a result of factors outside of the justice system. Recently, journalism students were assigned to investigate the case of a man who was scheduled to be executed, after the system of appeals had rejected his legal claims. The students discovered that one witness had lied at the original trial, and they were able to find the true killer, who confessed to the crime on videotape. The innocent man who was released was very fortunate, but he was spared because of the informal efforts of concerned citizens, not because of the justice system. In other cases, DNA testing has exonerated death row inmates. Here, too, the justice system had concluded that these defendants were guilty and deserving of the death penalty. DNA testing became available only in the early 1990s, due to advancements in science. If this testing had not been discovered until ten years later, many of these inmates would have been executed. ...read more.

Conclusion

The only condition is that the justice system needs to enforce life sentences - with no parole. The criminal should not get a second chance at life and freedom; their victim doesn't. Prison is a much more effective punishment than death. The guilt which a murderer must endure while in prison is far more difficult to handle than a painless death. Execution is not the solution to murder. Why then should the death penalty be acceptable? It too takes away a human life. By employing the death penalty as punishment for murder, society is further allowing itself to be corrupted by the violence and murder which threaten the well-being of our nation. The death penalty sends a message which says that murder is suitable under certain circumstances. Those who advocate capital punishment are attempting to justify the very thing they are struggling to punish: murder. Just as a murderer is wrong and immoral for taking someone's life, to kill the offender would only be returning the immorality. No one has the right to take away life, which includes the US government. "An eye for an eye" is not the philosophy this country was built upon. If we want to go about making improvements in this country, instituting the death penalty is not the way. To take another's life is wrong under any circumstance and we must change for the better by acting positively for the good of all society. Annastasia Zenner English 101 Professor Monticelli December 2004 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Capital Punishment section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Capital Punishment essays

  1. Death Penalty Opinion.

    If anything, the death penalty is not enough. It can never bring back the loved ones to the families that have lost them. It can never bring back the innocent lives that have been taken in cold blood. Yes, capital punishment cannot bring back the dead, but it does prevent others being killed.

  2. The Impact of the Black Death on the Christian Faith

    that they would be cleansed of their sins and the plague lifted accordingly. Rites including the "gnashing of teeth", the "pulling of hair", prayer and weeping were performed to implore and beg the mercy of the Virgin Mary (in the case of the Catholics)

  1. Free essay

    "Death is nothing to us." How good are the Epicurean arguments for this ...

    Epicurus thinks that if there are gods then they are divine and so are not concerned in human affairs, so then why should humans be concerned with theirs? Lucretius (on the symmetry argument) says; "nature shows us this as a mirror of the time that will be after we have finally died".

  2. Capital punishment as a deterrent of capital crimes in America

    These arguments, though, only really apply to those who believe that society should be modeled or influenced by Christian ideals. Seeing as this is only one religion among a plethora of beliefs and ideals within the U.S. and worldwide, arguments based in non-religious morals must be examined.

  1. Capital Punishment

    execution is a very real punishment rather than some form of rehabilitative treatment as the criminal is made to suffer in proportion to the offence. The bible agrees with this because it states that capital punishment is allowed for first-degree murder.

  2. My View Of Authority

    to die straight off so that is why I believe that capital punishment is wrong. Furthermore, I believe that no one ever has the right to play God and take the life of someone else, regardless of what they have done - maybe this is just my religious belief but

  1. I have come to the conclusion that executions solve nothing, Albert Pierrepoint, former executioner. ...

    However ofcourse there is no evidence that death penalty really does work as deterrence. We do not know if this particular person premeditated the murder. He might have acted in the heat of the moment. There can be no doubt that if death penalty occurred the perpetrator would be never able to re-offend.

  2. Capital punishment was the worst punishment that ever faced this country

    In 1941, at the height of the Blitz, she moved to London. At 17, a Canadian soldier made her pregnant. She gave birth to a son, Clare Andria (Andy), in 1944. Then, he told her that he was already married.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work