Capital Punishment Essay

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Capital Punishment: Right or Wrong?

Capital Punishment? The question as to whether the state has the right to execute a person found guilty of murder has been debated at length for decades. As with the subject of abortion, it is one of the most controversial topics of discussion in our country today. According to the website religious www.tolerance.org, about 60 to 80% of American adults say they want to retain capital punishment (2). In fact, there are only 12 states that have chosen not to enact the death penalty since the ruling of the Supreme Court in 1976 that said it was constitutionally permissible to have capital punishment (Bonner 1). This strikes me as being rather odd since a large number of those same people claim to
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According to human rights activist Stephen Bright, “Life is the most fundamental human right there is, the death penalty is like torture – it’s beyond the pale. Most people say it’s not right to cut a thief’s fingers off but it’s ok to cut off their head?” (Beaudoin 3).
The next argument that proponents of the death penalty will espouse is that the death penalty is a deterrent to future murders. Interestingly enough there are many district attorneys who do not believe that the death penalty is a deterrent to murder, and who are opposed to the death penalty. These are people who deal with murderers and other criminals every day. In the New York Times Special Report, this article indicates that 10 of the 12 states without capital punishment have homicide rates below the national average, while Federal Bureau of Investigation data shows, that half the states with the death penalty have homicide rates above the national average (Bonner 1). As I stated before, the majority of murders are not preplanned, so how can they be prevented? This opinion is substantiated by Mr. John O’Hair, the district attorney from Detroit who states, “I do not think that the death penalty is a deterrent of any consequence in preventing murders.” Most homicides, he said are “impulsive actions, crimes of passion, “ in which the killers do not consider the consequences of what they are doing.”

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