The Death Penalty in California
Since 1872, California used the death penalty for capitol offenses. Execution methods for the death penalty range from hangings, to gas chambers, and lethal injections. California abandoned hanging as a execution method on May 1st 1942. They began to rely solely on gas chambers and lethal injections. However, on February 18th, 1972, the California Supreme Court declared the death penalty a form of cruel and unusual punishment in accordance with he 8th Amendment. This caused for the resentence of 107 death row inmates. However, on August 11, 1977, legislature reinstated the death penalty only for crimes such as murder for financial gain, murder by a person previously convicted of murder, murder of multiple victims, murder with torture, murder of a peace officer, murder of a witness to prevent testimony and several other murders under particular circumstances. Furthermore, at this time they supplemented the death penalty with life in prison without parole.
In 1994, the Californian Government ruled the gas chamber as cruel and unusual punishment. Perhaps the California legislature thought it generous to include life imprisonment without parole because their methods proved primitive. Life imprisonment should exist as the only form of retribution in spite of the death penalty. Capitol offenders may have committed horrible crimes, but the state dictating whether or not they should die seems barbaric. To explain, the eighth amendment prohibited the federal government from distributing cruel and unusual punishments. With this in mind, life imprisonment should act as the only punishment for capitol offenses. Surprisingly however, according to a poll distributed to a sample of 958 registered voters, a staggering 68 percent of Californians support the death penalty (Egelko). I would think that these people would have a higher value on human life than that. Although many Californians favor the death penalty, no one deserves to have their life taken from them by people playing God because no one should have that kind of power.
In the Old Testament of the Bible, the used to issue the death penalty for a wide array of crimes such as adultery and for being gay. Luckily, our justice system does not follow a flawed plan. In fact, the process the death penalty follows proves very effective because they do not overlook anything when they sentence someone to death. Also, unlike in those medieval days, the California Government does not issue the death penalty based on petty misdemeanors. And to top it all off, criminals can still avoid the death penalty with life without parole. Who could call the government cruel when they give everyone a fair trial? After all the appeals, the sitting Governor of California remains the only person allowed to grant amnesty to these criminals. Only 3 felons since 1992 got to keep their lives in lieu of the death penalty (Colon). This proves that the justice system only exists to keep the people safe. Having the governor as the only person who can grant amnesty to a convicted felon allows for one person to give a single objective view of each case.
Where does the California justice system get off trying to condone the methods through which the death penalty follows. These people who carry out the death penalty, basically play dress up in God's shoes. Killing someone before their natural death completely thwarts Gods will (Bible). And we cannot say that the government plays god, because in reality one person seems as the alpha and that's the governor. Protocol of the execution of inmates states that convicts on death row may only receive exoneration if the Governor of California grants it (History of the Death Penalty) Why does one man get this kind of power? Premeditated murder, even if condoned by the governor, lowers the value of human life (Robinson). How did California get to this state where one man governs whether or not another can keep their life? The death penalty...
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