The death sentence was exercised in the United States as early as the 17th century. The crimes punishable by death included theft, witchcraft, homosexuality, and hitting one’s parents. During this time, execution was done by hanging in the public followed by the firing squad.
The American capital punishment system borrows heavily from the British legal system. The first documented death penalty was of George Kendall who was a captain and was executed by a firing squad in the first decade of the 17th century (Herrmann, 37). George was sentenced for mutiny and spying.
By the 18th century, the offenses for capital punishment were limited to murder and treason. Burning of the sentenced and bludgeoning were introduced, but hanging remained prevalent. By the 19th century, juries began to advise against execution in many states with Michigan being the first to put a stop to it in 1846.
The burning and bludgeoning also ended at around this time. Burning and bludgeoning were replaced by electrocution with the ancient hanging and firing still being dominant. It was during the 1930s that there was rampant executions. In the period between 1950 and 1970, there were unanimous sentiments about abolishing the death penalty.
It was abolished for some time only to be reinstated in 1976. However, sixteen of the states abolished it while those that practice it do so minimally and for charges of treason and murder (Singh, 33). The trend of the death penalty has been decreasing over time. Notably, “death sentences reached a record low of 78 in 2011” (Kim, para 1). A debate about whether or not capital punishment should continue to be used in the United States is based on three grounds: cost, retribution and fairness.
The debate on death penalty Whether the death penalty is cost effective or not continues to be widely controversial. Those that are against the death sentence argue that the death penalty is a costly process. A convicted person is likely to use the whole appeal processes in trying to overturn the sentence. The costs associated with placing a charged person on death row include costs of investigation, long and rigorous court hearings and appeals, and the cost of the execution itself (Hull, 113).
Get your 100% original paper on any topic done in as little as 3 hours Learn More A report by the California Commission on the fair Administration of Justice in 2008 indicated that annual costs of the use capital punishment were at $137 million annually. However, with reforms that had been recommended by the commission to make sure that the process of issuing a death penalty was fair, it would cost $232.7 million annually.
On the other hand, the costs incurred by a system, which issues a maximum penalty of life imprisonment would be only $11.5 million annually. In addition, the costs incurred in the defense of a death case (federal), was estimated at $620,932 million. This was around eight times more than that of the same offense where capital punishment is not sought (Uelmen and Boscia, 16).
Those who are supportive of the death penalty argue that the huge costs incurred are worth it as the death sentence puts away the convict forever, and thus reduces crime. They argue that costs should not stand in the way of justice being administered (Uelmen and Boscia, 63).
In my opinion, the cost associated with the death sentence are clearly outrageous and could otherwise be put to better use in the society. Nonetheless, the quest for justice cannot come cheaply under whatever circumstances, the death penalty or not, and thus it should not be a hindrance for justice to prevail.
Whether retribution is an adequate form of justice or not is another point of controversy in the death penalty debate. The proponents of capital punishment argue that the death penalty will remind potential criminals of the consequences of their actions. Retribution refers to revenge, and those supporting the death sentence are of the view that, if a person takes away another person’s life, his or her life should also be terminated.
The retribution aspect is borrowed from the principle of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. They believe that the punishment for a crime should match the crime committed. The advocates of the death penalty argue that there can be no other justice for a murderer other than for their lives to be taken (Singh, 189).
The opponents of the death penalty argue that killing is wrong under whatever circumstances. Therefore, killing the convict does not change the prior crime committed or help to bring back the dead to life. They argue that the state commit the same crime as that of the convict by committing murder themselves albeit knowingly.
We will write a custom Research Paper on Debates on Death Penalty in the United States specifically for you! Get your first paper with 15% OFF Learn More They argue that lesser sentences like life imprisonment can serve to deter the convict and make them come to terms with the crime they committed (Hull, 76). In my opinion, using retribution as a form of justice is inevitable, but two wrongs do not make a right. The legal systems have to instill higher principles of respect for life even that of a murderer.
Fairness in the administration of the death penalty is probably the most controversial point of debate There are many questions raised including what are the criteria used to pass the death sentence and not life imprisonment?
What is the probability of convicting an innocent person? Is there racial bias when passing the death sentences? These questions touch on the issue of fairness. There are no clear guidelines as to how to reach a death sentence. Many high profile criminals have gotten away with numerous murders just because they could afford some of the best lawyers. On the other hand, the poor and sometimes innocent are awarded the penalty due to lack of proper representation.
In addition, an aspect of racial profiling has been observed in the implementation of the death penalty (Uelmen and Boscia, 140). Some states have done away with the death penalty. However, others such as California are still practicing the death penalty. It can be noted “Proposition 34 – which would have seen capital punishment scrapped – was rejected by 53% of voter” (Topping, para 1).
Those who support the death penalty argue that the system has its own mechanisms for ensuring that sentences passed are fair enough. In my opinion, no human is perfect enough to give perfect judgment. Therefore, there is always the risk of prosecuting innocent people. On the other hand, justice and fairness should be given to the victims and their families (Singh, 78).
Conclusion The capital punishment system comes out as one of those necessary evils in society. The main purpose of the death penalty was to reduce the rate of crime, but this argument is subject to debate. In addition, the issues of the costs, fairness, and whether it indeed is a good system of justice continue to dominate the debate on the death penalty. However, many Americans are against the death penalty, but it continues to be implemented in most of the states.
Works Cited Herrmann, Jacqueline. The History of the Death Penalty in the United States: Presented and Analyzed on the Basis of Selected U.S. Supreme Court Cases. Mu?nchen: GRIN Verlag, 2008. Print.
Hull, Elizabeth. “Guilty On All Counts.” Social Policy, 39.4 (2010): 11-25. Print.
Not sure if you can write a paper on Debates on Death Penalty in the United States by yourself? We can help you for only $16.05 $11/page Learn More Kim, M. Jane. “Is Capital Punishment on Death Row?” US News. 2011. Web.
Singh, Robert. “Capital Punishment In The United States: A New Abolitionism?.” Political Quarterly 71.3 (2000): 341. Print.
Topping, Alexandra. “Californian death penalty fight goes on, despite vote.” The Guardian. 2012. Web.
Uelmen, Gerald F, and C. Boscia. Final Report. Santa Clara, CA: California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice, 2008. Print.
Hosting an International Sporting Event: The Economic Implications Case Study
Nursing Assignment Help To be chosen to host an international sporting event, such as the Olympics is a great privilege for any country. There are, therefore, thorough preparations that are done to ensure that the event will be a success, and that in turn the country will gain a good reputation (Barton, 2004).
While studying the economic benefits of the Olympic Games most significant changes are noted in the areas of construction, tourism and social services sector (Preuss, 2004). This is primarily because there are a number of structures that are built solely for the purpose of accommodation during the games.
Once the event is over, the structures remain economically useful as they can be used for rental purposes leading to generation of revenues. The service sector, such as the banks and the hotel industry will experience a boom because the visiting population will be in need of these services.
Employment created during major sporting events, such as the World Cup or the Olympics is short lived (Burton