Capital Punishment Essay: Capital Punishment Targets the Poor

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Capital Punishment Targets the Poor

In some states, inmates can be executed for crimes they committed at the age of

16; in others, only those who committed murder at age 18 or older are eligible for the death penalty. This essay will demonstrate that such inconsistencies and many other factors cause a situation where the poor are consistently targeted by the death penalty.

Some states, but not all, ban the execution of people with mental retardation. Some states include felony murder (unpremeditated murder committed in the course of another crime such as robbery or burglary) as a capital crime; others do not. In the 29 states that have a sentence of life without parole, 23 have statutes that bar judges from letting
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However satisfying vengeance may seem, a civilized society cannot accept an eye-for-an- eye, tooth-for-a-tooth delivery of justice. Although some families and loved ones of murder victims approve the death penalty, many others are against it. Further, some family members of homicide victims comment that the death penalty process prolongs their pain, and only serves to make their healing more elusive. Financial and emotional support is what they need most, not more violence. In the words of the father of one murder victim, "Violence is not an acceptable method of solving the problems that arise in our daily lives.... The use of the death penalty only lowers the standards of government to the

mentality of the murderer himself." We do not punish rape with rape, or burn down the house of an arsonist. We should not, therefore, punish the murderer with death.

The irreversibility of the death penalty is especially significant in light of the percentage of innocent people on death row. A study published in 1982 in the

Stanford Law Review documents 350 capital convictions in which it was later proven that the convict had not committed the crime(Stanford). Of those, 23

convicts were executed; others spent decades of their lives in prison. In a 1996

update of this study it was revealed that in the past few years alone, four
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