Death Penalty

Topics: Death Penalty, Murder, Crime Pages: 5 (1735 words) Published: April 23, 2014
Capital punishment is used as an instrument for the judicial system to right a wrong that has been committed against society. Since the 1700s the laws surrounding the capital punishment issue have been refined through the judicial and legislature systems to the current use of today. The death penalty rests on strong foundation of symmetry and rightness. 11 The primary goal has evolved from one for state security to a more focused goal of doing justice and controlling crime.12 The globalization and the inequality are both factors in the controversy of the deterrence of capital punishment. Cesare Bonesana di Beccaria, a philosopher in Italy, wrote “An Essay on Crime and Punishment” in 1764.8 The concerns he stated about the use of death as a punishment are very much the same today of judicial failures, inequality, and effect of deterrence. Beccaria's review was translated into several languages and very well known throughout the world in 1764. He is regarded as the most influential person in changing society’s perception of the death penalty. The controversy surrounding the use of capital punishment has been a constant since the 1700s. The issues of use are rooted deep globally along with the injustices of inequality and the deterrence effect. Beccaria felt the judicial system had failed in interpretation of the law and making the law obscure. 8 Capital punishment has been used worldwide at some point in history. Ancient legal codes, from the Code of Hammurabi in 1750 B.C. to the Code of Theodosius in 438 A. D., have documented the use of death as punishment.4 During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries there were one hundred sixty crimes punishable by death in England.4 It was during this time that Beccaria wrote his essay bringing the injustices to the forefront for the world to review. Just recently, in the mid 1960’s, Western Europe took the stance that the death penalty was no longer needed in their society. Britain paved the way for abolishing the death penalty in 1965 after several decades of legislation.12 Since then a majority of Western Europe and North America have abolished the death penalty. The death penalty is still used in China, Australia, Singapore, and Japan, with China leading the world in executions.2 The need of international cooperation on such matters as defense, drug enforcement, economics, and human rights is crucial for the United States as well as the countries around the world.7 As international organizations, such as North Atlantic Treaty, otherwise known as NATO, and the United Nations, discuss human rights the death penalty has been on the list of acceptance or not. The United States refusal to take any significant steps about the death penalty has hurt relations and prestige with other world leaders. Allies have been alienated because the U. S. would not sign two of the most important human rights treaties of the century due to the death penalty clause in the treaties.7 Most European countries will not extradite suspects to the U.S. if the death penalty could be imposed.13 A recent example of this was in 2001 when Fredrick Russell was charged with vehicular homicide and assault when he hit a car killing three people and injuring three near Pullman, Washington. He was released on bail and fled to Dublin, Ireland. In 2005 he was taken into custody in Ireland but they would not extradite unless the death penalty was not an option. Mr. Russell was finally extradited in 2006 and is currently serving a 14 year, three month sentence.6 Even though Western Europe has abolished the use of the death penalty the majority of the people support the use of the death penalty in the most serious of crimes. The abolishing of the death penalty in Western Europe is primarily due to the political system and not the will of the people.13 The historical roots of the death penalty in the United States goes back to the colonial days more than 400 years ago.1 The first execution in America was in 1608, Captain...
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