Death Penalty Essay example

Submitted By demetricwright
Words: 1321
Pages: 6

Kendrick Landix Jr.
Amy Pellittieri
English 101-73
Nov. 25 2012
Legal killing: The Death Penalty
King Hammurabi of Babylon first established the death penalty in the Eighteen Century as a way to punish more severe crimes. The death penalty was first introduced into American society in 1608 with the main influence being from Britain. Since then, it has been highly debated and is still possibly one of the most controversial issues in the American justice system to date. Conservative groups seem to favor the death penalty more than any other political party and with Congress made up of majority of conservatives, legislation tends to favor their opinion. Capital punishment denies civil liberties and goes against the very democratic system that America was founded upon. Capital punishment should not be a legal punishment because it goes against religion, is ineffective, is not cost efficient, and the court system has many flaws. One of the biggest problems with the death penalty is that it gives God-like powers to a single judge or a jury. All people are biased, whether they think they are or not they favor something more than another thing. Also, people change moods frequently. A person may feel one way one day and then feel the complete opposite about the same thing he next day. With this said, people are not equipped emotionally or psychologically to choose the faith of a person’s life especially, if it involves ending a person’s life. As people, the right to choose if someone lives or dies is not given and is reserved for a higher authority. Many people believe this and even then, the death penalty still exists in many states. With this said, most of the major religions such as Catholicism are for the preservation of life, and the death penalty is looked down upon by the church or its equivalent. Most major religions preach to forgive and to repent. “In the words of the Old Testament book of Numbers: ‘You shall accept no reason for the life of a murder… for blood pollutes the land, and no expiation can be made for it’” (Melusky). If this is so, the victim’s family should forgive the person who has caused harm to a loved one and the person who has committed the crime should repent for what he or she has done. Executions are very expensive. It is about four times cheaper for someone to have life in prison than for him or her to be on death row. This is because when someone is on death row, they have to be under maximum security, go through the appeals process and have a court appointed lawyer to represent them in their appeal cases. “Capital trials cost on average an additional $1 million more than non-capital cases. Capital cases often cost 10 to 20 times more than murder trials that don't involve the death penalty. Additional costs are incurred from a multitude of factors: two attorneys per side (rather than one), multiple investigators, multiple experts in the penalty phase of the trial, extended jury selection process, the additional penalty phase, and a longer guilt phase. Defendants have a constitutional right to representation on direct appeal, which is paid for by the state. The legislature has failed to provide adequate funding for the public agencies charged with defending capital defendants, thus the state has been forced to rely on appointing private lawyers. The average cost to represent a defendant in a case in which private lawyers are hired is between $200,000 and $300,000. Taxpayers should not have to pay for all of this just for someone to still be executed. “It has been concluded that the cost of the death penalty in California has totaled over $4 billion since 1978. Also, it is calculated that, if the Governor commuted the sentences of those remaining on death row to life without parole, it would result in an immediate savings of $170 million per year, with a savings of $5 billion over the next 20 years” (History of DP). Ultimately, this is outrageous spending for a punishment that is morally