The Death Penalty: Right or Wrong?

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Pain. Anger. Frustration. Hatred. These feeble words do not describe the anguish felt by the families of murder victims. Ted Bundy was responsible for the deaths of more than 50 young women across the United States (Lamar, 34). Bundy was finally sentenced to death by the state of Florida in 1978 for the kidnapping and brutal murder of a 12-year-old girl and the deaths of 2 Florida State sorority sisters (Lamar, 34). As if the loss of a loved one is not enough for a family to contend with, Bundy remained on death row for nearly 10 years. Three stays of execution and endless appeals kept Bundy alive for almost a decade, when his victims lives were untimely and viciously taken from them (Lamar, 34). If a sentence of death is handed down, then it should be enforced, not as a question of morality, but simply as an act of justice.

The moral issue of whether the death penalty is right or wrong and its constitutionality, is beyond this argument. The death penalty already exists in 36 states, and, given its existence, it should be enforced. Since the United States Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, 36 States have legislated capital punishment statutes (Capital Punishment, 1992). All but 13 states and the District of Columbia have death as a sentencing option, including Alaska, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin (Norman, 1). Since capital punishment is already in existence, the problem is that it is not enforced. This lack of enforcement translates into inefficient functioning of the criminal justice system.

Two reasons why the death penalty should be enforced are saved time, by the court system through limited appeals, and saved money, by taxpayers due to reduced court and imprisonment fees. Much of the court's time could be saved if death row inmates were limited to a set number of appeals in a reasonable amount of time. Facilitating numerous...
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