Death Penalty

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Death Penalty: Bad for America
There are many debates about the way crime should be handled. At the top of the debate list is capital punishment. The capital punishment system arouses very heated debates. The death penalty is an outdated system that is financially wasteful and not a deterrent to crime.Certainly, a major player in the death penalty debate is whether or not it is being applied fairly (Lyons). Race, sex, and economic status are all factors that must be considered (Lyons). These factors are not only applied to the defendant but also the victim and, at times, the accuser (Lyons). Everything from charges to sentences is affected (Lyons). The American Bar Association shows concern over the mounting evidence of disparity in capital punishment cases (Lyons). As stated by Robert Kutner, “For example, a 2000 study by the US Department of Justice reveals that between 1995 and 2000, 72 percent of cases that the attorney general approved for death-penalty prosecution involved defendants of color. During that time, statistics show that there were relatively equal numbers of black and white homicide perpetrators.” For instance, due to capital sentencers having unchecked and basically free reign in deciding whether or not to sentence someone to death, the Supreme Court has found a disproportionate bias toward the poor, colored, and unpopular groups being sentences to death (Kuttner). Blacks who commit crimes are far more likely to be sentenced to death than are whites, especially when the crime is committed against a white person (Kuttner). Whites who commit crimes against minorities are, more often than not, treated less severely than when the roles are reversed (Kuttner). More than half of the American public agrees that the poor and minority are not treated fairly in capital cases (Lyons). Minorities, specifically blacks, are often denied a jury seat in capital cases (Kuttner). The exclusion of black jurors is extremely harmful to capital cases (Kuttner). Statistically, a black defendant is far more likely to be sentenced to death when there are no black members on the jury (Kuttner). In fact, the US Department of Justice shows, in a study, that within a five year span, almost seventy-five percent of cases approved for capital punishment trials had black defendants (Kuttner) .Statistics show that there were nearly equal numbers of black and white murder defendants in the same five year span (Kuttner). Also in the same time span prosecutors were shown to be nearly sixty percent more likely to push for a death sentence for black defendants accused of murdering a white than those accused of murdering a black (Kuttner). Also shown statistically is that white defendants are offered plea bargains astoundingly more often than colored defendants are (Kuttner). In one state with over 200 prisoners on death row, seventy percent are minorities (Kuttner). Consequently, last year many states considered outlawing capital punishment, though only one did (“Death Row…”). These considerations were mainly due to the overwhelming evidence of a broken system (“Death Row…”). For example, there are many more executions in the south, specifically Texas and Virginia (Lyons). These two states account for more than half of the executions since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976 (Lyons). In addition, attorney qualifications vary greatly between states (Lyons). Some states have very strict regulations on attorneys who try capital punishment cases while others allow attorneys who have little to no experience in life or death cases (Lyons). The age in which an offender can be executed varies by state (Lyons). Oklahoma can execute an offender at 16 years old (Lyons). States also vary on the decision process of life and death (Lyons). Most states use a unanimous jury (Lyons). In some states however, a judge can condemn someone to death even if a jury disagrees (Lyons). In addition, studies show that line ups are not as useful as once...
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