The failure of Capital Punishment

Essay by XmasTreeCollege, UndergraduateA+, February 2006

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How would you feel a minute before the lethal injection, although you were sure about your innocence? This question relates to one of the oldest punishments in history - the death penalty. Capital punishment existed long before creation of its legal application in the court system. As countries developed, they brought capital punishment into their legal systems. The Bible was used by the English as a reference for executing offenders. Later on, capital punishment was incorporated in the USA legal system from the English Bill of Rights (Department of State's Bureau). Although the death penalty was abolished in 1972 in the USA, "[i]n 1976 Supreme Court authorized its resumption, allowing each state to decide whether or not to have the death penalty" (Ontario Consultants 1). However, it remained in most of the states. Additionally, the death penalty is applied not only for first-degree murder, but also for certain federal offences, such as smuggling; thus lethal injection has become the main method of depriving the offender of life (Death Penalty Information Center 1).

In the last century the validity of capital punishment has become a debatable issue. Supporters of the death penalty believe that it should be used as prevention from future crimes. However, opponents of the death penalty suggest that it should be abolished for many reasons. "Should the death penalty stay in effect in the USA?" is the main question to answer. Capital punishment should be abolished in the USA because of the violation of human rights, the possibility of executing the innocent, the failure of deterrence argument, and the indeterminate position of the Constitution.

Proponents of the death penalty claim that the public supports the death penalty. This argument could have been considered valid, if it had been used some time earlier, like in 1995, when public support...