Essay on The Death Penalty

Submitted By j1vieira
Words: 1754
Pages: 8

The Death Penalty
Intro to Criminal Justice
12/15/2011

The Death Penalty

In the Unites States capital punishment is challenged as to if it is a moral or immoral action. Capital punishment is seen mostly in the south where it is commonly practiced, Texas being the leading state of executions since 1976. Many people have different opinions about this type of sentencing because there are always conflicts when it comes to deciding if this punishment is just for the criminal being charged. The public opinions play a central role in capital punishment where they challenge the courts system of sentencing basing it on whether it is just or not. One major issues with capital punishment is the innocent being executed. There are newly challenged allegations that the death penalty has brought about racial discrimination when being practiced. Many theories of whether capital punishment is seen as a good thing or bad have come about causing conflict all over the United States. Recently out of any other death sentencing cases two have been brought to the attention of the Supreme Court being the Atkins v. Virginia case and the Roper v. Simmons case. In Atkins v. Virginia case Daryl Renard Atkins was convicted of abduction, armed robbery, and capital murder, and sentenced to death. At approximately midnight Atkins along with his partner William Jones were armed with a semiautomatic handgun where they abducted a man by the name of Eric Nesbett. They robbed all of his money and brought him to a nearby automated bank teller where they made him withdraw all of his money. The two men didn’t realize there were cameras recording their actions that they had taken place in. After robbing the man of his money they took him to an isolated area where they shot him eight times and killed him. Both men pleaded guilty to the charges that they were accused of and told recaps of the event that had happened. The state introduced evidence towards Atkins proving two aggravated circumstances. These included “future dangerous” and “vileness of the offence”. The first aggravator was proved by Atkins past criminal record of felony convictions along with the victims of previous assault cases. The second aggravator was proved by pictures of the deceased man he had killed along with autopsy reports. Dr. Evan Nelson a forensic psychologist evaluated Atkins before the case where he concluded that he was “mildly mentally retarded” along with interviewing people who had known him such as teachers along with his previous court records. He was given a standard intelligence test where he was shown to have an IQ of 59 and had a mental age of a child between the ages of 9 and 12. This statement was a very big deal and the case relied on it. The jury sentenced Atkins to death but was saved by the Virginia Supreme Court who ordered a second sentencing hearing due to the trial having a misleading verdict. Another doctor had come into the trial names Dr. Stanton Samenow. He gave his opinion that Atkins was not mentally retarded but rather average in intelligence and diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder. Even though Atkins was re-diagnosed he was still sentenced to death by the jury. In the Roper v. Simmons case juvenile Christopher Simmons, 17 still a junior in high school talked about how he wanted to murder someone with his two friends. He had it all planned out that he would commit burglary by breaking an entry then murdering the victim by tying them up and throwing them off a bridge. Simmons along with his friend had broken into the home of Shirley Crook. After she had recognized Simmons from a previous encounter they had been in due to a car accident Simmons knew he couldn’t let her live because she had “seen his face”. He used duct tape over her mouth and eyes along with binding her hands together with it. They then put her in minivan where they drove to the local state park. Before pushing her into…