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Blind and Toothless - Positions

Jul. 10th, 2006 05:14 pm Blind and Toothless

Resolved: that capital punishment is unconstitutional.

"An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth and the whole world would soon be blind and toothless."
Mahatma Gandhi

Eye-for-an-eye type justice is a law-enforcement ideal with barbaric roots. This principle was used in ancient Mesopotamia, and in Rome was given the title "lex talionis" meaning retributive or vengeful justice. This form of revenge is often seen as archaic when in fact it is alive and well in our own American society today. We are tought from a young age "two-wrongs don't make a right." Over half the countries in the world have now abolished the death penalty in law or practice. 60 Americans were sentenced to death last year and were subsequently murdered by means of electrocution or lethal injection, bringing the total deaths up to 1004 lives since the use of the death penalty was resumed in 1977.* It seems that Americans are on their way to a blind and toothless world.

+The death penalty is a not a deterrent to future crimes.
Studies show that capital punishment is not more of a deterrent to murder than a prison sentence. Many criminologists feel as though society is brutalized by the use of the death penalty, actually increasing the likelihood of more murder.** As a general trend, states which do not employ the death penalty have lower murder rates than those that do.

+With capital punishment there is always the risk of executing the innocent.
"Since 1973, at least 121 people have been released from death row after evidence of their innocence emerged. Thus, for every eight people executed, our legal system has found one person on death row who never should have been convicted. A recent study by Columbia University Law School found that two thirds of all capital trials contained serious errors.***" Once a man is executed there is no way to undo what has already been done if a mistake is made.

+Capital punishment is by no means financially favorable.
• The California death penalty system costs taxpayers $114 million per year beyond the costs of keeping convicts locked up for life.Taxpayers have paid more than $250 million for each of the state’s executions. (L.A. Times, March 6, 2005)In Kansas, the costs of capital cases are 70% more expensive than comparable non-capital cases, including the costs of incarceration.(Kansas Performance Audit Report, December 2003). The most comprehensive study in the country found that the death penalty costs North Carolina $2.16 million per execution over thecosts of sentencing murderers to life imprisonment. The majority of those costs occur at the trial level. (Duke University, May 1993).*****

+The death penalty has a history of misuse and discrimination
In many cases who is sentenced to deaht row has less to do with guilt and more to do with not being able to afford the best lawyer. In addition to the economic discrimination, historically the sentence is given more frequently when a white man kills a black man than when a black man kills a white man; 202 sentences as compared to 12.A comprehensive study of the death penalty in North Carolina found that the odds of receiving a death sentence rose by 3.5 times among those defendants whose victims were white.(Prof. Jack Boger and Dr. Isaac Unah, University of North Carolina, 2001).

+The death penalty violates the 8th ammendment to the constitution.
In the 1972 case, Furman v. Georgia, the Court concluded that the arbitrary application of the death penalty and the disproportionate number of minorities that were executed (as before stated) made the death penalty "unusual," in concordance with the 8th ammendment.**** The 8th ammendment states: excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. Is the murder of another human being not justified as being cruel and unusual, particularly if it is often found that death row inmates can be proven innocent?

With all this substantiating evidence against it, why is the inhumane practice of capital punishment still in place in our country today? One can only hope that Americans become morally advanced enough to move away from the barbaric practice of an eye-for-an-eye...a life for a life.


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Date:December 20th, 2008 12:10 pm (UTC)
This echoes my views perfectly. From hearing the way the general public talk, it seems that many people are just using the pretext of "justice" to veil the fact that they don't seek crime prevention or anything of the sort; they just want blood and suffering, and it's acceptable to air such fantasies if the person you purport to want to inflict them on is a criminal. I think there should be a kind of conversational intolerance toward expressing these desires. Talking about how much one wants to cause someone to suffer/die should be responded to as you'd respond to someone talking about how they'd love to be a rapist.

In short we should focus on the perverseness and barbarity of revenge, not the initial crime.
Date:January 27th, 2011 07:09 am (UTC)


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