In Cold Blood: Death Penalty

1413 Words Oct 18th, 1999 6 Pages
In Cold Blood: Death Penalty

Capital Punishment has been part of the criminal justice system since the earliest of times. The Babylonian Hammurabi Code(ca. 1700 B.C.) decreed death for crimes as minor as the fraudulent sale of beer(Flanders 3). Egyptians could be put to death for disclosing the location of sacred burial sites(Flanders 3). However, in recent times opponents have shown the death penalty to be racist, barbaric, and in violation with the United States
Constitution as "...cruel and unusual punishment." In this country,although laws governing the application of the death penalty have undergone many changes since biblical times, the punishment endures , and controversy has never been greater. A prisoner's death
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Studies show that the chance for a death sentence is up to five to ten times greater in cases with white victims than black victims(Flanders 25). In the criminal justice system, the life of a white person is worth more than the life of a black person.

The mentally retarded are victimized by the death penalty. Since 1989, when the Supreme Court upheld killing of the mentally retarded, at least four such executions have occurred. According to the Southern Center for Human Rights, at least 10 percent of death row inmates in the United States are mentally retarded(Long 79).

Juveniles are subject to the death penalty. Since state execution of juveniles also became permissible in the decision cited above, at least five people who were juveniles when their crimes were committed have executed(Long
79).

Innocent people can-and have been- executed. With the death penalty errors are irreversible. According to a 1987 study, 23 people who were innocent of the crimes for which they were convicted were executed between 1900 and
1985(Long 79). Until human judgement becomes infallible, this problem alone is reason enough to abolish the death penalty at the hands of the state more dedicated to vengeance than to truth and justice.

Executions do not save money. There are those who cry that we, the taxpayers, shouldn't have to "support" condemned people for an entire

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