An Analysis of the Death Penalty
Criminal Justice 1010
Professor Terry L. Powell
June, 24th 2014
Part 1: Deterrence
All of the research that I have done suggests that the death penalty is not a major source of deterrence for criminals to commit severe crimes such as homicide. In a 2009 survey of America’s top criminologists, published in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology and written by Professor Michael Radelet, eighty-eight percent of the expert criminologists stated that they do not believe the death penalty acts as a deterrent for criminals to commit homicide. Respondents to this survey were asked to base their answers on research, rather …show more content…
During my research, I read about trials where incompetent defense lawyers in cases involving the death penalty have slept through parts of the trial, or arrived at court under the influence of alcohol. While I’m sure cases like these are few and far between, it’s a scary thought to think that things like this have happened before. Discrimination is another in important factor in whether or not a defendant receives a fair and just trial. Even today there are parts of the country where people continue to be prejudiced against certain races, or people of certain sexual orientations. It would obviously be difficult/impossible for those who are discriminated against to receive a fair trial if his own defense lawyer, or the judge, were discriminant against them. I believe that it’s hard to overstate the importance that a quality defense lawyer and an unbiased court play in maintaining true justice, especially in a case involving the death penalty, as issues of arbitrariness and discrimination are potentially some of the biggest factors in whether or not defendants will receive the fair trial that they all deserve. It is vital that the American justice system continues to strive for, and make improvements toward, maintaining an environment of competent defense attorneys and unbiased court rooms.