Essay on Opposing the Death Penalty with Bibliograpgy

Essay by chris420yaHigh School, 11th gradeA+, March 2003

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Opposing the Death Penalty

The death penalty has been a controversial issue in American society for the last twenty years. It started back in 1976 during the Furman v. Georgia trial. This case was about three black men that received the death penalty for the murder or rape of white people. It was argued against because two of the men were sentenced to death for rape, even though other people had been given much less severe punishments for murder (Bender 35)! Should it be up to our justice system to decide a person's fate? There are many issues that deal with the controversy of capital punishment such as discrimination, cruel and unusual punishment, unfair trials, the possible "wrongly accused", and the rights of the convicted.

The largest issue related to the death penalty is the fear of executing an innocent person. Nobody has ever been sentenced the death penalty, executed, then found to be innocent (Draper 35).

But since 1973 there have been 102 people in 25 states that have been released from death row with evidence of their innocence. In many of these cases they were proven innocent because somebody confessed to committing the crime. Considering that an extremely small percent of escaped murderers would actually confess to their crime there must be a very large amount of people that have been wrongfully accused and possibly some that have been executed. One example of a wrongfully accused person is Anthony Porter. He was convicted in 1983 for the murder of 2 people. In 1999, two days before his execution, a videotape of a man confessing to the murder was discovered! He was released of all charges. Although he wasn't wrongfully executed, 16 years of his life was spent in jail with the fear of death looming over him. It...