Alternatives to the Death Penalty Essay

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Alternatives to the Death Penalty

Mead Shumway of Nebraska, was convicted of the first degree murder of his employer’s wife on circumstantial evidence and sentenced to death by jury. His last words before his execution were: “I am an innocent man. May God forgive everyone who said anything against me.” The next year, the victim’s husband confessed on his deathbed that he [the husband] had murdered his [own] wife (Radelet, Bedau, Putnam 347).

There are an uncertain numerous amount of incidents similar to the one depicted above, that have repeatedly occurred throughout the course of history. Two highly distinguishable figures in the area of capital punishment in the United States, Hugo Bedau and Michael Radelet, discovered in 1992, at
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How can the nation’s people put trust into an institution which has reportedly failed them again and again? The system can and will, and has in the past, falsely accused someone and wrongfully sentenced them to terminal punishment. Once a convicted prisoner meets the executioner, the prisoner has reached the point of no return. Death cannot be reversed once it has occurred.

No issue posed by capital punishment is more disturbing to the public than the prospect that the government might execute innocent people. Proponents to the death penalty are, of course, also against executing an innocent person (Hook and Kahn 91). Most everyone would agree that killing someone is wrong. Proponents and opponents agree that murder is a heinous act and should be punished. Despite their hatred for those who kill, proponents support the killing of murderers as a just punishment for their deviant behaviors. In this sense, execution can be termed, “legal murder” because “executions shares enough of the characteristics of murder to be counted as part of the general category: it includes a victim who does not want to die, and an agent that nonetheless kills [the victim]” (Yanich 98]. Murder is synonymous with kill, as found in the Britannica- Webster Dictionary. To kill is to deprive one of life or to put one to death and murder implies motive and intent or premeditation. With respect

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