Deserving to Die Essay

1384 Words6 Pages
Robert Lee makes many arguments to argue justification of capital punishment in his article, “Deserving to Die.” Some of the stronger ones involve the deterrent effect of the use of the death penalty, why the cost of execution is so high, and how the use of the death penalty increases overall public safety. In Lee’s first argument, he argues that the use of capital punishment helps reduce overall crime by acting as a deterrent to crime. In at least one respect, capital punishment is unquestionably a deterrent, as Lee puts it, “It simply cannot be contested that a killer, once executed, is forever deterred from killing again” (142). Of course, a deceased killer can never kill again, but the effect that death penalty has on others, potential…show more content…
The second argument Lee makes involves not whether the cost of capital punishment is actually really huge, more than it costs to sentence someone to life without the possibility of parole, but as to why the cost is so high and what should be done about it. Abolitionists of capital punishment always cited as a reason to abolish it all together. But Lee notes that, “They prefer to ignore, however, the extent to which they themselves are responsible for the interminable legal maneuvers that run up the costs…” (144). Lee argues that the major causes of the high cost are the redundant, “endless” appeals, time-consuming delays, bizarre court rulings, and legal histrionics by defense attorneys, after the trial and conviction of the criminal (i.e. post-conviction proceedings). Lee provided several examples of cases that were delayed again and again for various reasons, many with the convicted on death row years before finally being executed. Willie Darden had already survived three death warrants, and had been scheduled to be electrocuted by the state of Florida in September of 1985 for a murder he was convicted of committing back in 1973. Darden’s defense attorney attempted to get the Supreme Court to stay his execution until a formal appeal could be filed, with a last-minute emergency appeal. The court voted against the stay, so his lawyer, attempted to get the court to technically transform his emergency appeal into a formal appeal.
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