The Death Penalty Is A Morally Appropriate Punishment

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One of the most controversial issues in the current century is the death penalty. In ancient times, actions such as speaking out against a King or the nobility were reasonable grounds to be “sentenced to death”. However, times have changed and most of society relegates this “ultimate penalty” to the most heinous of crimes such as capital murder. There is much debate about the ethical nature of the death penalty with contrasting arguments on both the far left and far right. Nonetheless, I believe the Death penalty is a morally appropriate punishment only when the legal system is just and imposes strict scrutiny in giving/applying the penalty. It can be argued that society gains no utility by providing heinous criminals the right to live,…show more content…
Justice should be equitable; excessive harshness and excessive leniency should be avoided. This is commonly known as retributive punishment.
Currently, the people most affected by the death penalty are overwhelmingly from minority groups, people who are socioeconomically disadvantaged, or in most cases, both. In the United States, this is directly related to the unjust principles practiced in modern society through controversial policing/sentencing policies and practices. By no means am I saying that retributive justice is unjust, my claim is that there is a deliberate push to over penalize the poor for their crimes, while still allowing the better off to avoid capital punishment. Scott Phillips, a criminology professor at the University of Denver, published a study in the Law & Society Review focusing on the levying of the death sentence in relation to the victim 's socioeconomic status. Phillips studied capital cases in Harris County in Houston, Texas between 1992 and 1999 and found that the social status of the victim in the underlying murder had a significant influence on whether the death penalty would be sought and imposed on the defendant (Phillips).
After reviewing staggering 504 cases, Phillips found that defendants are six times more likely to receive a death sentence if they commit murder against people of a higher socio-economic class. The criteria used to
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