Critical Thinking Paper
An Analysis of the Death Penalty
Criminal Justice 1010
Professor Terry L. Powell
June, 24th 2014
Part 1: Deterrence
All of the research that I have done suggests that the death penalty is not a major source of deterrence for criminals to commit severe crimes such as homicide. In a 2009 survey of America’s top criminologists, published in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology and written by Professor Michael Radelet, eighty-eight percent of the expert criminologists stated that they do not believe the death penalty acts as a deterrent for criminals to commit homicide. Respondents to this survey were asked to base their answers on research, rather…show more content… I learned that this survey was based on 7,482 death sentences handed down from 1973 to 2004. The authors of the survey concluded that at least 4.1 percent of the death row inmates would have been exonerated, given enough time and resources to give them a proper trial. Samuel Gross, who is a University of Michigan Law School professor and the author of this survey, is quoted as saying, “the great majority of innocent people who are sentenced to death are never identified and freed". While I was definitely surprised to learn that the rate of wrongful executions could be higher than four percent, I am of the belief that while it may be impossible to completely avoid the sentencing of innocent people to the death penalty through mistakes in trial due to a lack of resources and time, the American justice system should try to think of new ways to lower that percentage (4.1%+). Perhaps by finding ways to fund new research regarding identifying cases that involve potentially innocent inmates, we can improve the rate of wrongful executions against the innocent.
Part 4: Arbitrariness and Discrimination Through my research on this critical thinking paper I have learned that the quality of the defendant’s defense lawyer is perhaps the single