Eye For An Eye, Makes Whole World Blind “Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.” This was the third promise made by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This presents an interesting debate-- Is a criminal excluded from the operational definition of a person? Personhood is ethically defined as an ability for empathy, measure, and reason. Minus one exception (a sociopath), most criminals are capable of the characteristics listed above. Therefore, the right to life applies to not only the victims, their family members, and the prosecuting lawyer but for the criminal as well because, by definition they fit the criteria for the the promise made to all beings back in the 1948 (UDHR). As well as the 3rd right, all persons are guaranteed the eighth amendment: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted” (George). It’s a mystery how the Supreme Court justifies the use of the death penalty, a form of punishment in which a person who has been convicted of a savage crime is executed under the criminal justice system. Capital punishment cannot establish a greater good for society when it goes against the foundation of this country- our human rights and amendments- and therefore should be abolished by the Supreme Court.
Capital punishment has been part of history since biblical times and when colonial America came to be, it adopted capital punishment into their system of governing. Early on in this country’s upbringing, the death penalty was the commonplace form of punishment, considering the lack of prisons (Acker). Today, our country resorts to the death sentence for only the most heinous of crimes and just about all of Europe has abolished the practice entirely (Acker). Europeans seem to be one step ahead of us in the understanding of the ethics behind capital punishment. The death penalty violates the right to life, liberty, and security of person because it is premeditated murder by the government, and according to the standards of the judicial system presently- murder is punishable by death. Two wrongs don’t make a right and yet this disciplinary system creates a vicious circle. A human cannot decide the fate of another human’s life because humans are fallible. Since 1973, one-hundred and forty two death row inmates were exonerated due to wrongful conviction in cases where DNA proved their innocence (BJS). Innocent people mistakenly found guilty and sentenced to life in prison can later be freed- the executed cannot. The death penalty eliminates the option to release someone who is suffering from a miscarriage of justice because it is irreversible. Over 1,200 deaths by capital punishment have occurred in the USA since 1976 (BJS) and we may never know how many were innocent. How many more are currently waiting on death row to be executed for a crime they did not commit? The current system, does not protect the innocent. In fact, this country’s death penalty does not even convict those who commit the worst crimes- it convicts those with the worst lawyers (Parker). The majority of criminals facing death penalty charges cannot afford to be sufficiently represented by a lawyer and therefore is appointed one by the state. According to an investigation by the Chicago Tribune, 12% of those sentenced to death from 1976-1999 were represented by, "an attorney who had been, or was later, disbarred or suspended--disciplinary sanctions reserved for conduct so incompetent, unethical or even criminal that the state believes an attorney's license should be taken away." (Messerli). The death penalty not only refutes the right to life but it also withholds any opportunity for rehabilitation, reconciliation, restoration or self-improvement (Messerli). It is merely a form of revenge, not liberty. Meaning the death penalty doesn’t do much for the grief of the prosecuting family. Everyone believes in an “eye for an eye,” in