Essay about Justice or revenge

Submitted By justinl224
Words: 1557
Pages: 7

Do Blacks Face the Death Penalty More Frequently than Whites 1

Do Blacks Face the Death Penalty More Frequently than Whites

17 November 2011

Do Blacks Face the Death Penalty More Frequently than Whites 2 One afternoon I arrived at home after school to find my mom sitting in the living room watching the news. This wasn't out of the ordinary, but something, either words or a flashing image, caught my attention. A red banner at the bottom of the screen announced that Saddam Hussein had been executed by means of hanging. Surprisingly, and disturbingly, I found myself pleased by the death of this man. I knew the terrible things that he had been found guilty of, but at the same time I realize that I'd never taken pleasure in the death of another living person before. I wasn't sure how I felt about the death penalty once I really put thought into the matter. A part of me felt it to be a necessary evil when it came to certain crimes. In the case of a mass murderer like Saddam it seemed like justice was being served and the families of his victims would get a sense of peace. But would they really? The death of Saddam wouldn't bring back lost loved ones. The damage had already been done. Would it really be possible for the families to truly find the closure that the government was sure they would find? I wanted to begin my investigation of capital punishment by getting an idea of what crimes were punishable by the death penalty. Capital crimes, or crimes punishable by death, vary from state to state but share a few notable offenses in common. Crimes against the country such as espionage and treason are considered Capital crimes for the potential harm to so many people. Murder in any degree or form is also considered a Capital crime and may be punishable by death, although first time offenders will rarely get such a sentence. Aggravated kidnapping, rape and battery of a child (12 years of age or under), trafficking large amounts of illegal substances, and the murder, attempted murder, authorizing, or advising of the murder of any officer, juror, or witness in a “Continuing Criminal

Do Blacks Face the Death Penalty More Frequently than Whites 3
Enterprise” case are all considered “extra heinous crimes” and can upon conviction, warrant a death sentence, (Death Penalty Information Center). I believed Saddam was an evil man and that we did have the right to execute him because of the terrible things he had done. But a more recent case, one that inspired this research, puts a much more controversial spin on the topic. Troy Davis was an African American man from Georgia who was accused of murdering a state police officer in 1989. This case was surrounded by suspicion and doubt from the start on nearly all sides, except for Mark MacPhail's family, the prosecution, and the Board of Pardons and Paroles. He was nearly executed on four separate occasions but was granted last minute postponements each time. However, on September 21, 2011, the appeal made on Troy Davis' behalf based on new evidence and testimony was denied and Davis was executed that afternoon. The Davis case was very difficult for me to comprehend, not from lack of understanding the testimonies, evidence, and what was being said about the case inside and outside of the courtroom, but because it was hard to understand how some very real reasonable doubts about the case were overlooked. If anything this case should have ended in a mistrial because so many key witnesses for the defense recanted their statements for various reasons,