The Death Penalty

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THE DEATH PENALTY

The Death Penalty

James A. Fort

DeVry University
ENG135

THE DEATH PENALTY

The Death Penalty

Many countries throughout history have used the death penalty as deterrence to major crimes. Some crimes that are considered to be major are rape, murder, manslaughter and vehicular manslaughter. The death penalty applies to the major crimes that are committed violently or murders that are done with forethought. The way to prevent some of these major crimes is to use the death penalty. There have been arguments from some organizations that feel that the death penalty is cruel, unjust and immoral means of punishment. I feel the opposite. I think the death penalty is a great deterrence for people that commit major crimes. I will discuss some of the strengths and weaknesses surrounding the death penalty.

In the state of Georgia the following crimes are punishable by death; murder, kidnapping with bodily injury or ransom where the victim dies, aircraft hijacking, and treason. The lethal injection is the means that is used when someone is sentenced to death. There is no real age specified to how old somebody can be before they are sentenced to death. As of 2011 there was 101 people on death row, 100 men and 1 woman.

There are two phases in sentencing a person to death, the trial and the sentencing or penalty phase. The trail phase is where the defense team tries to prove that the defendant did not commit the crime or case some reasonable doubt in the mind of just one juror. If the defendant is found guilty then comes the penalty phase.

In the penalty phase the jury hands down the death sentence not the judge. It is during this phase that the defense team tries to convince the jurors not to sentence the defendant to death. The actual sentence is weighed out using two different factors. They are mitigating and aggravating factors. Mitigating factors include is the defendant suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), or under some type of extreme duress while committing the crime. Aggravating factors include the defendant being on parole, probation, or an escapee at the time of the crime and did the defendant commit any other felonies while committing this crime. If the mitigating factors outweigh the aggravating factors in the eyes of the jury, then the defendant can be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

The state of Georgia has used the following methods to carry out the death sentence. Hanging which was used in Colonial times to 1925, the electric chair, which was used from 1925 to 2001, and finally lethal injection, which was implemented on October 25, 2001. The lethal injection is a combination of drugs (a barbiturate, paralytic, and potassium solution), which causes immediate death of the subject. It kills the subject by first by putting the person to sleep, then stopping the breathing, and then heart in that order. There was talk to adopt the gas chamber instead of using lethal injection but it did not get past the Georgia House of Representatives.

The lethal injection is actually administered in two different places for males and female prisoners. At one time both males and females were executed in the electric chair in Georgia State Prison, which is located outside of Reidsville, Ga. There is a museum on the upper floors of the main building that house the remains of an electric chair that was used to execute prisoners. There are also ledgers with the last words of prisoners there as well. Now the men are executed in Jackson, Ga. and the women are executed in Atlanta, Ga.

A June 2010 Rasmussen telephone poll found that 62% adults favor the death penalty. The same poll also found that 45% of people polled felt that capital punishment deters people from committing murders. On the other hand 43% said no. Some of the strengths of the death penalty are that it does not allow violent murders...
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