Death Penalty

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Brenda smith May 4, 2012 Mr. Stein Government

Although the death penalty may seem inhuman to many people, it is effective through the cost of death vs. life in prison, income level, morality and irrevocable mistakes. The death penalty is only used for the most harsh and cruel crimes. It’s surprising to me that this punishment is not a federal law. Every state has its choice to make this penalty legal or not. Seventeen states in America do not use the death penalty, which means that 33 states do use it. It is interesting that every state in the southern part of the United States has the death penalty with the exception of New Mexico. In my opinion, they should make the death penalty legal in all 50 states. The most common way to kill a person on death row is through lethal injection. One of the biggest debates in the United States right now is whether or not to make the death penalty legal.

First, the cost of death vs. life in prison is a big key in deciding whether or not it is better to make the death penalty legal. Many opponents say it costs more money to administer the death penalty to a convicted criminal as opposed to sentencing him to life imprisonment. This is not true. Over time, Life Without Parole (LWOP) cases are more expensive then the death penalty. A case in Nevada proves that it is less expensive to receive the death penalty. The 80 pending capital murder cases in Clark County will cost approximately $15 million more if they spent life in prison. Justice for All estimates that Life without Parole cases will cost $1.2 million – $3.6 million more than death penalty cases cost. With the high cost of Life without Parole a true life sentence will be more expensive than a death penalty cost. In Colorado, the death penalty costs about $380,000 more per year. This is important because one plea bargain to life sentence will end up saving Colorado money and you can only plea bargain a true life sentence if you have the death penalty. If the government has the power of the death penalty they don’t have to worry about providing a criminal with shelter or food. Therefore, the government saves lot more money when they use the death penalty rather than send a man to prison for life. A famous court case involving the death penalty was Roper B. Simmons. This case took place in Missouri and it involved three young men. The plan was commit burglary and murder by entering a home, tying up the homeowner, robbing the victim and then threw him off a bridge. After they caught the three men the case went to trial. After Simmons confessed to the murder, they performed a video reenactment at the crime scene. The jury found Simmons guilty, even after considering that he was 17 years old and had no prior criminal history. The jury did recommend the death penalty. The trial court overturned this decision for the death penalty because Simmon’s actions were blamed on his mental disability and according to the 8th Amendment, his would have been considered cruel and unusual punishment. Therefore, the court sentenced Simmons to life imprisonment without parole.

Another example that proves the death penalty should be legal is income level. There are many cases where the best lawyers are hired privately in cases where the defendant is wealthy. People who are facing life in prison have to depend on their attorneys. If a wealthy man commits a serious crime, he will obviously have a very experienced and knowledgeable lawyer and get out of the situation by getting sentenced to prison for less time. If a less fortunate individual committed a serious crime, they would not be able to pay for the best attorney and probably get a harsher sentence. In the United States, this is prevented by the courts assigning a lawyer to your case whose main objective is to help with capital cases no matter what your income level is. A person’s...
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