capital punishment

Topics: Death Penalty, Murder, Crime Pages: 7 (2484 words) Published: December 29, 2013
Argumentative Essay Against Capital Punishment
If there are people who are in favor of capital punishment, there are also those who want it to be abolished.  According to the Abolitionists, capital punishment is nothing but an act of violence.  There is nothing more inhumane than tolerating the killing of another human being.  It is indeed very paradoxical that the state will allow the execution of a human person as a solution to crime and violence.  It is said that: “legalized homicide as punishment is generally inconsistent with the values it is presumed to protect, and in a broader context is demeaning of the dignity of human life. “  (Capital Punishment: British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, p.1)

Violence will never be the right solution to the rising criminality.  It bears stressing that when the society tolerates execution as a solution to criminality, in effect, we are leaving an imprint on the minds of the youth that the proper approach to violence is to impose violence.  Violence begets violence.  It is sad that when this happens we are legitimizing violence in our society.  Thus, the Abolitionists argue that capital punishment should be abolished because it degrades the value of human life. 

Capital punishment is also perceived to be beneficial for the society because it deters the criminal from committing another crime and it prevents the other criminals from committing the same crime.  It must however be emphasized that until now there has been no scientific literature that will prove that there is a causal connection or a cause and effect relationship between capital punishment and the commission of a crime. 

Further, there is empirical research that will prove that a great majority of crimes being committed in our contemporary society are either crimes of passion or crimes that are not premeditated or planned.  Logic will tell us that if a crime is committed in a fit of rage and anger then the thought of being executed for a would-be criminal offender will not serve any deterrent purpose because at the time of the commission of the crime he is no longer capable of making rational calculations about the benefits and disadvantages of his actions. 

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The third objection against capital punishment is that it is always possible that an inmate who is on death row may turn out to be innocent.  There are flaws in every criminal justice system.  We adopt the adversarial system wherein the prosecution and defense have sufficient freedom to control the manner and process of presenting evidence.  In this system, the judge acts merely as a passive arbiter who ensures that everything is in order and decides on the issues presented to him.  In this system, the prosecution lawyers in their haste to “win” their case, more often than not, are obsessed not with finding the truth but with the conviction of the accused.   The public prosecutors, on the other hand, are already burdened with the number of cases they are currently handling that they can no longer adequately defend the cause of the accused. 

The result is that we have a justice system wherein only those who can afford the best lawyers can be adequately represented or defended in court.  In this justice system the accused is at the mercy of the public prosecutor.  Thus it is not surprising that most people who are languishing in jail are those living below the poverty line who have no means to pay for a competent lawyer to defend themselves in a court of law.  On the other hand, those who are financially capable can hire skilled lawyers who can assist and defend them.  Thus, Christina Swarns (2004) states that:

“The primary reason for this economic disparity is that the poor are systematically denied access to well-trained and adequately funded lawyers. Capital defense is now a highly specialized field requiring practitioners to successfully negotiate minefield upon mine field of exacting and arcane...
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