Death Penalty Synthesis Essay with Documents

Topics: Death Penalty, Capital punishment in the United States, Lethal injection Pages: 15 (5076 words) Published: April 5, 2013
Directions:The following prompt is based on the accompanying ten sources. This question requires you to integrate a variety of sources into a coherent, well-written essay. Refer to the sources to support your position; avoid mere paraphrase or summary. Your argument should be central; the sources should support this argument. Remember to attribute both direct and indirect citations.

Introduction:The death penalty has been implemented since ancient times and punishes criminals. Some people wonder if it deters violent crime in the states it is legal, but does it have a noticeable effect on violent crimes in these places? Is it even moral, and should it be abolished altogether?

Assignment:Read the following sources (including any introductory information) carefully. Then, in an essay that synthesizes at least five of the sources for support, take a position that defends, challenges, or qualifies the claim that the death penalty is immoral and should be abolished. Refer to the sources by their titles (Source A, Source B, etc.) or by the descriptions in parentheses.

Source A ("Reasons to be Against Death Penalty")
Source B (Bedeau)
Source C (Dieter)
Source D ("A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death")
Source E ("How Executions Take Place")
Source F ("The Death Penalty in the U.S.")
Source G ("Methods of Execution ")
Source H ("Public Opinion Polls ")
Source I (“Murder Rates”)
Source J (Everett)

Source A
"Reasons to be Against Death Penalty." N.p.. Web. 9 Mar 2013. <>.

1. Executions cost more than life in prison.
$2 million per person vs. $500,000 (4x as much!). Free counsel for defense, for appeals, maximum security on a separate death row wing. 2. The innocent may be wrongly executed.
Since the DP was reinstated in 1976, 82 inmates have been freed from Death Row. That's 1 Death Row inmate found to be wrongfully convicted for every 7 executed. 3. Is not a deterrent; crime rates have not gone down.

In fact, the murder rate in the US is 6 times that of Britain and 5 times that of Australia. Neither country has the DP. Texas has twice the murder rate of Wisconsin, a state that doesn't have the DP. Texas and Oklahoma have historically executed the most number of DR inmates, yet in 2003 their state murder rates increased, and both have murder rates higher than the national average. 4. Life in prison also guarantees no future crimes.

5. Some religions forbid death penalty: Catholic, Presbyterian, Quaker, Amish, Mennonite. 6. Killing is wrong.
7. Many Death Row inmates were convicted while being defended by court-appointed lawyers who are often the worst-paid and most-inexperienced and least-skillful lawyers. The American Bar Association published guidelines for a good defense in a death penalty case: (a) attorneys with prior experience working a capital case, (b) 2 attorneys, 1 investigator, 1 mitigation specialist, and (c) fully funded to pay for travel, private eyes, evidence testing and other things needed to investigate the case. Yet no state meets these standards. And few states pay their state-appointed lawyers well enough to retain competent, effective lawyers. 8. Violates international human rights laws.

9. No longer practiced in most sophisticated societies.
10. Promotes killing as an OK solution to a difficult problem. 11. Death sentences are handed down arbitrarily, not in a fair manner. Serial killers such as the infamous Gary Ridgway in Seattle who admitted killing 48 prostitutes and runaways got life in prison. An "angel of death" nurse in NJ who admitted killing 17 people got life. Meanwhile, mentally ill and impoverished murderers who could not afford good lawyers and did not warrant much media attention were given the death penalty. In Alabama, David Hocker was executed after a one-day trial. His mental illness was not sufficiently described to the jury. Alabama also executed a 74-year-old man...
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