Limiting deathrow appeals

Essay by Michael WilkinsonUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, February 1996

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Michael Wilkinson

03 February 1997

English 121

Limit Death Row Appeals

The Constitution of the United States outlines the rights of a person accused of a crime. The individual has a right to a trial and to be judged by a jury of his peers. When the result of a trial is a guilty verdict and the individual is sentenced to death, the individual has a right to appeal the verdict and the sentence. At the present time, there are virtually no limits on the number of appeals the individual is entitled to and the process could take years. Therefore, the process should be altered to limit the number of appeals to one.

The Supreme Court of the United States re-instituted the death penalty in 1976. Between that year and 1995, 314 inmates have been executed in the 37 states, districts, and providences of the United States that allow the death penalty.

There are more than 3100 inmates on death row. The majority of executions are of white males. Most executions are by lethal injection or electrocution. In the years since the Supreme Court re-instituted the death penalty through 1994, there have been approximately 467,000 homicides in the United States. Based on that number, 2.8 people will die every hour at the hands of another person.

Death row inmates are often on death row for years, some upwards of twenty years. This puts great financial strain on taxpayers' money. While in prison, inmates have many privileges, including cable television, the chance to pursue a college degree, and free health care, all at taxpayers' expense. There are many law-abiding citizens who don't get these benefits. It is appalling to think these people have a virtual life of leisure while in prison. There are some death penalty opponents who believe that convicts...