Death penalty

Essay by Anonymous UserCollege, UndergraduateB, November 1996

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The Death Penalty

by Juan Brenes

An eye for an eye, a life for a life? Does this philosophy hold true in the

twentieth century? Is the death penalty a 'Cruel and Unusual' punishment or is it

now a necessary tool in the war on crime? With the increase in crime and

violence in our society due not only to gang and drug activities, but also

psychotic murderers, our criminal justice system must decide whether or not

death as a form of criminal punishment is economical, non-discriminatory, and a

deterrence factor of criminal activity.

Although it may seem to many people expensive to keep a murderer in

prison for life, the fact is it is now actually more costly to execute the inmate. At

one time it would have been cheaper to carry out the penalty of death, but now

with all of the costs - including the financial expense and the wear and tear on

our courts and prisons - a system of capital punishment is considerably more

expensive than a criminal justice system without capital punishment (National

Law Journal, 1993).

The costly aspect is not the feedings and other upkeep's of

the prisoner but the judicial and correctional processes.

Ordinarily criminal cases, including murder cases, are resolved by guilty

pleas and without expense of a trial. All capital cases , by contrast, require jury

trials. These trials are longer, more complex and more expensive than those in

other cases, including other murder cases.

Although defendants are able to plead guilty to capital murder, few do.

The fact is the only time that a defendant pleads guilty is when they will receive

some type of leniency, such as in the degree of the charges, the dismissal of other

charges, or an expectation of favorable consideration in sentencing...