Death Penalty Debate

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Death Penalty Debate Paper

BCOM/275

The death penalty is an issue that has continually created conflict in today’s society. Many people arguing whether or not the death penalty should exist. Who’s to say whether the death penalty is a form of justice and therefore a valid and appropriate punishment or whether it is a “cruel and unusual” form of punishment. “The Arizona Supreme Court threw out the death sentences for a Tucson man who bludgeoned his girlfriend and her two children to death in 1984 after lying in wait for each of them, ruling that the murders weren’t especially heinous even though they were “atrocious” and “senseless”.” (Associated Press 2012) That statement gives the illusion to potential criminals that as long as their crime “isn’t especially heinous” they may also be able to get away without a death sentence. It also brings up the issue of what murder is not heinous. Any taking of someone else’s life is a heinous act, is it not? The death penalty may not affect the rate of murder, but it should be an applicable punishment in certain cases to establish justice. The US Constitution in its 8th Amendment protects Americans from "cruel and unusual" punishments. Since then, the continuous existence of the death penalty has been a major debate. Can the death penalty constitute as a "cruel and unusual" punishment? The answer to that question was provided by The US Supreme Court, who instated the moratorium in 1967 while they were debating whether or not the death penalty was constitutional. In 1972, the Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty did indeed violate the 8th Amendment, but mostly on the grounds that the death penalty was not applied fairly. However, the court could not prohibit the death penalty because it is the fundamental right. The fundamental right has been embroider into society over the course of history, and cannot be separated from society. Therefore, the death penalty has continued to be used as a form of punishment.

In several parts of the world, the death penalty has been executed on those who have committed a variety of offenses from the time of ancient Babylon to present-day America. Capital punishment has always been an effective and acceptable way to help deter crime, but in today’s society a debate has developed over the morals and ethics of using such a harsh punishment. The punishment must fit the crime; therefore “a life for a life” so to speak, would be an appropriate form of punishment for murder. The death penalty is a punishment that truly ensures that the criminal pays for their crime and that they are unable to ever commit the crime again. There are many ethical and moral dilemmas as well as pros and cons that are debated by both sides regarding this type of punishment. Many feel that in order for the victim’s family to have closure, the death penalty does justice. However the other side of the argument, that using the death penalty as a form of justice or punishment, is just as bad as the crime itself. Of course the situation varies case to case but both supporters and opponents of the death penalty provide good arguments to support their stance. Here are some other pros and cons to both sides of the argument on the death penalty:

Pro

The query of if capital punishment discourages homicides has caught the curiosity of scholars in law and economics, beginning a passionate argument regarding defenses for capital punishment. Based on approximately 12 studies, executions protect lives. For every prisoner executed, the research claims, 3 to 18 homicides are averted. The results are prominent with states that execute convicted prisoners regularly and rather speedily. The research compared the number of executions in dissimilar territories with murder rates over a specified period. It states that homicide numbers go down as executions increase. One important analysis reviewed 3,054 districts over 20 years. H.N. Mocan, an...
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