Death Penalty Research Paper

Submitted By erieser1
Words: 1551
Pages: 7

Did you know the 140 people have been released from death row and some were nearly minutes away from execution? In the past few years it has come to light that four men have been wrongfully executed. This statistic is just too high when we are talking a matter of life and death. The death penalty can be considered a lethal lottery in today’s society that really comes down to the amount of money someone can pay lawyer to keep them off of death row. Many of the current death row inmates were represented by lawyers appointed by the state due to a lack of money to buy their own lawyer (Woodford, 2009). The death penalty is unjust because the cost is very expensive, many inadequate legal representations, it prolongs the families’ suffering, and the chance of wrongful executions. It seems that it would be less expensive to execute someone, rather than leaving them in prison for life. The thought couldn’t be any more wrong and it cost millions more to execute someone rather than life in prison. Due to our constitution, it requires a long complex judicial process for capital cases. The process must be so complex to eliminate any risk of killing an innocent person who did not commit a crime. Even with that process, you can never be 100% sure you’re executing the correct person unless they have admitted to it. If we were to replace the death penalty sentences with Life without Parole, it would save millions that could be used to better communities which these crimes happen. The millions of dollars saved could go to different programs such as education, public safety, after- school activities, and services for crime victims. If we would put the money we could save from eliminating the death penalty toward these programs, it could possibly help reduce crime and save even more money. In the state of California, they could have saved $1 billion over the past five years by using permanent imprisonment and not the death penalty. California taxpayers also pay $90,000 more a year on each death row inmate versus a regular prisoner. The state has also spent more than $4 billion on capital punishment since it was reinstated in 1978. That number is expected to reach a shocking $9 billion by the year 2030 (Woodford, 2009). With statistics like this for only one state, it would be shocking to think that the cost of death penalty is really benefiting the U.S. In the state Indiana, a small rural county if faced with the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars for a death penalty trial. The accused killer, Nicholas Harbison, could cost the county around $500,000 which can be an extremely high expenditure for a small county. Some counties can be reimbursed for up to fifty percent, but they must comply with state standards for the case. There were some cases similar to this one in small counties in Texas, which bankrupted those small counties’ governments. Due to issues like in these small counties, many cases don’t seek out the death penalty just to avoid the cost risk (Nesbitt, 2006). If we our bankrupting small governments just to put someone on death row, then we really need to reevaluate our thought process on the death penalty. One of the biggest factors when determining if someone will receive the death penalty is the quality in which the representation they are provided. In most capital cases the person cannot afford their own attorneys, so they are appointed an attorney by the state. It has been provided that many of the appointed attorneys are underpaid, overworked, or lacking experience with death penalty cases. The attorney’s that are appointed for these cases are not of the quality that someone who can pay large amounts for an attorney. An examination by the Dallas Morning News found that in a study of 461 capital cases, one in four condemned inmates have been represented in court by a court appointed attorneys who have been disciplined for professional misconduct at some point in their careers. Another