Death Penalty Essay example

1998 Words Nov 21st, 2013 8 Pages
The Death Penalty
The death penalty is a form of punishment in which a person who has been convicted of a serious crime is executed under the precept of the criminal justice system. The death penalty has been in existence for thousands of years and has gained wide acceptance in the United States since early colonial times. Even those who framed the Constitution specifically the Fifth Amendment approved of it though implicitly (McCord and Latzer 9). Despite the growing acceptance of the death penalty as an appropriate punishment for certain kinds of crimes such as first degree murders, there are still some people who argue against it on certain grounds. The debate as to the justification of the death penalty has raged on for a long time.
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However, this opposing opinion can only gain support in light of the fact that the Supreme Court only approves of death penalty if a criminal is convicted of premeditated first-degree murder. Just because murders committed out of the heat of passion are treated as second-degree murders in which death penalty does not apply, it does not nullify the deterrent effects of the death penalty. It does not also imply that the presence of death penalty in the criminal justice system lack the capacity to prevent the so-called second degree murders (Cassell and Bedau 32).
Moreover, it cannot be implied that despite having the death penalty, homicides continue to be committed in the country. The outstanding issue is not whether the death penalty prevents every murder, but rather, whether some murders are deterred by the death penalty. Logic, firsthand reports, and statistics have proved that the death penalty at least deters some murders (Cassell and Bedau 32). For instance, an analysis conducted by Isaac Ehrlich in 1973 indicated that at least seven lives were saved for every execution of a convicted murderer. This is because prospective murderers were deterred from going down the same path. Follow-up studies have generated similar results (Arguments for and Against the Death Penalty).
Apart from acting as a deterrent, the death penalty stands out as the only punishment that can be equated with…

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