Sunday, August 4, 2019

The Case Against The Death Penalty :: essays research papers fc

THE CASE AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY It's dark and cold, the fortress-like building has cinderblock walls, and death lurks around the perimeter. A man will die tonight. Under the blue sky, small black birds gather outside the fence that surrounds the building to flaunt their freedom. There is a gothic feel to the scene, as though you have stepped into a horror movie. Unfortunately, this is not a scene in a horror flick; these are the surroundings of an actual prison execution. As early as the founding of the United States, capital punishment has been a controversial and hotly debated public issue. The three most common forms of death penalties currently used in the United States are the gas chamber, electrocution, and lethal injection. The firing squad is an option in Idaho, Oklahoma, and Utah; and death by hanging still remains an option in New Hampshire and Washington state. There are major problems with our criminal justice system. In the last one hundred years, there have been more than 75 documented cases of wrongful conviction of criminal homicide. According to a 1987 Stanford University survey, at least 23 Americans have been wrongly executed in the 20th century. For this very reason, the State of Illinois imposed a moratorium on the state?s death penalty in 2000 when it was discovered that 13 inmates on its Death Row were wrongly convicted. Anthony Porter, one of the 13, spent 15 years on Death Row and was within two days of being executed, before a group of Northwestern journalism students uncovered evidence that was used to prove his innocence. In the United States there are currently 3,490 prisoners awaiting execution. Many of these prisoners are poor and are where they are because they could not afford good legal representation. Most of these prisoners are Black, and they have been arrested and incarcerated in southern states. According to the July 2004 Quarterly Report of the NAACP Criminal Justice Project, 52% of the inmates who currently sit on Death Row are Black or Hispanic. Another argument against capital punishment is that death sentences are not uniformly imposed as punishment in all cases where a heinous crime has been committed. In his book, Legal Lynching: Racism, Injustice and the Death Penalty, the Reverend Jesse Jackson basically argues that if you are a wealthy, White person, your odds of receiving the death penalty are low, but if you are a poor, African-American or other minority, your chances of receiving a death sentence for the same crime are much higher.

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