Guilty of first degree murder… sentenced to death. Sentenced to death. Sentenced to death by the electric chair. Sentenced to death by lethal injection. Sentenced to death by gas chamber. Sentenced to death by fire squad. All of these segments have one thing in common. The end result is death. When the death sentence is thought of, do people think of the cost it takes to execute each person? When capital punishment is thought of, do people find it to be an act of justice or an act of murder brought on by the government? Is the death penalty constitutional or unconstitutional? Capital Punishment is unjust, unconstitutional, and a huge financial burden.
The death penalty is unjust in so many ways. One way is that in certain states, such as California, Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, the state allows the inmates that are to be put to death to choose the way that they are to be executed. (Bureau of Justice Statistics) In essence, this law is helping the inmates commit suicide, which constitutes euthanasia. Another way the death penalty is unjust is that people that are on death row have to wait for many years just to be put to death. One man, Robert Waterhouse, was executed this year at the age of sixty-five. He was on death row for thirty-two years before he was finally put to death. (Death penalty Info. Center) Half of his life was wasted in waiting just to have it end in death. All the inmates who lost their lives in “state-sponsored murder” waited ten or more years just to be executed. They lived a great portion of their lives in agony waiting for the day when the prison guards are to go and tell them it was their turn to be put to death. One other way capital punishment is unjust is that death cannot be reversed in the event of false accusations. One example of this is in 2010, the issue of the death penalty as a law was on trial in Texas for the death of a man who was falsely accused in 2000. The court wrongfully convicted Claude Jones because they did not run a DNA test when he was first tried for murder in 1990. Not until two years ago in 2010 was an actual DNA test performed and Jones was found to be innocent. That would be excellent news for anyone who was falsely accused of murder and for anyone who was sentenced to the death penalty.( Dickson) The unfortunate thing is Claude Jones was unable to hear this news because he was executed in 2000 for a crime that he did not even commit. What does that say about the legal system in the U.S.? Had he not been on death row, but simply sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, Claude Jones would now be a free man.
For a judge of the 2nd circuit court of appeals in Manhattan, New York to say that the death penalty is unconstitutional, the idea of the death penalty must be inhumane. This Judge, whose name is Jed S. Rakoff, said that the death penalty “deprives innocent people of a significant opportunity to prove their innocence" and "creates an undue risk of executing innocent people,”. He then goes on to say that the death penalty violates what the Fifth Amendment says. Judge Rakoff said “It follows that implementation of the Federal Death Penalty Act not only deprives innocent people of a significant opportunity to prove their innocence, and thereby violates procedural due process, but also creates an undue risk of executing innocent people, and thereby violates substantive due process.” With similar opinions of the death penalty, the Arc bishop of Washington, Catholic Cardinal McCarrick, wrote “...the death penalty diminishes all of us, increases disrespect for human life, and offers the tragic illusion that we can teach that killing is wrong by killing.” The Arc Bishop had a point. (White) Why would the government pass a law prohibiting the killing of people, when they go and kill people themselves? By enforcing the death penalty, the government is breaking their own laws. If the