Most people argue that the death penalty is not a form of cruel and
unusual punishment. However, this is extremely inaccurate. Electric chair
victims can take up to 14 minutes to die, maintaining full consciousness as
their flesh begins to scorch and burn off. During lethal injection, "even a
slight error in dosage or administration can leave a prisoner conscious
but paralyzed with pain, serving as a witness for his own demise." The
following is an eye witness account of an Arizona gas chamber execution given
by Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens: "When the fumes enveloped Don's
head he took a quick breath. A few seconds later, he looked again in my
direction. His face was red and contorted as if he were attempting to fight
through tremendous pain. His mouth was pursed shut and his jaw was clenched
tight. Don then took several more quick gulps of the fumes. His body
started convulsing violently and his skin turned a deep red...the viens in his
temple and neck began to bulge until I thought they might explode. After about
a minute, Don's face leaned partially forward, but he was still very
conscious. He was shuddering uncontrollably and his body was racked with spasms.
His head continued to snap back. His fists were clenched tightly. After
several more minutes, the most violent of the convulsions subsided. At this
time, the muscles along Don's left arm and back began twitching in a
wavelike motion under his skin. Spittle drooled from his mouth. Don Harling
took exactly ten minutes and 31 seconds to die. Approximately three months
later, he was found innocent."
And it wasn't the first time. Amnesty International sites that "from
1900 to 1985 over 350 people sentenced to death were later found to be
innocent of the crimes charged. Some excaped execution by only minutes, but 23
were actually executed. Within the last 20 years, 54 Americans under
sentence of death have been released because of evidence of their... [continues]
Cite This Essay
(1999, 10). Why the Death Penalty Is Dead Wrong. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 10, 1999, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Why-Death-Penalty-Dead-Wrong-3249.html
"Why the Death Penalty Is Dead Wrong" StudyMode.com. 10 1999. 10 1999 <http://www.studymode.com/essays/Why-Death-Penalty-Dead-Wrong-3249.html>.
"Why the Death Penalty Is Dead Wrong." StudyMode.com. 10, 1999. Accessed 10, 1999. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Why-Death-Penalty-Dead-Wrong-3249.html.