The debate over the death penalty is not always the primary topic in legislation, but it’s one that never goes away. As recently as February 7, 2013, a federal District Court Judge, James Brady, halted an execution of a prisoner who is convicted of murdering his 12-year old stepson. This is because the State of Louisiana failed to provide details about its new execution protocol. Why are the details of the protocol so important? They are important and necessary because the defendant cannot adequately argue the Eighth Amendment (cruel and unusual punishment) to spare his life, if he does not know the specifics of his execution. In this particular case, Louisiana switched from a 3-drug execution to 1 drug. However, the state has not offered any details of how the drug was purchased, what training the prison staff have received to inject the drug, or who would even carry out the execution. (J. Simerman, "Federal judge halts execution scheduled for next week," Times-Picayune; M. Deslate, "Federal judge delays Louisiana's plan to execute man next week; convicted of killing stepson," The Republic (Associated Press); February 7, 2013).
Death penalty risky, too expensive
Great Falls Tribune
Louisiana is not the only state that has on-going court cases regarding the death penalty. In fact, 33 States and the U.S. Government and Military have legal statutes to put people to death. So the question remains if the death penalty is unconstitutional. In a recent article by the Great Falls Tribune, the issue of the death penalty has been raised once again by the Republicans and Democrats in the Montana Legislature. The underlying issues of the article are by those who oppose the death penalty, including: the high cost of litigation death penalty cases and the amount of time it takes and the morality of killing a person, no matter the reason. In addition, politicians from Montana felt it necessary to introduce a bill to abolish the death penalty in Montana due to the fact that a large amount of people have been proven innocent after they were executed. ("Death penalty risky, too expensive," Great Falls Tribune, editorial, February 5, 2013).
The Debate According to supporters of the death penalty, there are several arguments. For instance, the death penalty gives closure to the victim's families who have suffered because of a person’s actions. Also, they believe justice is better served and it creates another form of crime deterrent. Others believe the justice system shows more sympathy for criminals than it does victims. Not to mention that supports believe DNA testing and other forensic testing are now effective enough to convict the right person. In addition, supporters believe without the death penalty the following can occur: prisoners can escape or be paroled and kill again, the prison will become even more overpopulated, and prosecutors will no longer have a bargaining chip in the plea process. Those who oppose capital punishment also have many points they argue. For example, the cost to litigate and put someone to death is several times that of keeping someone in prison. They also believe it violates clauses in the Bill of Rights, especially the Eighth Amendment, as it is “cruel and unusual punishment.” In addition, they believe we will never socially advance if we continue to believe in “an eye for an eye,” and the end result does not bring the victim back to life. Furthermore, it is argued that the appeal process is endless and backlogs our courts. As well as, it is possible to execute innocent people, those who are mentally ill, and possibly those who are charged with a crime because of biases. The opposition also believes life in prison is more of a deterrent than the death penalty and that the decision to put someone to death is not fair to make a juror decide. Let alone the emotional toll the prisoner’s family must suffer when their loved one is put to death. After looking at both