Capital Punishment (1634 words)

Published: 2020-07-17 01:35:05
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Capital PunishmentThe topic I chose for my research paper is Capital punishment. I chose thistopic because I think Capital punishment should be banned in all states. Thedeath penalty violates religious beliefs about killing, remains unfair tominorities and is therefore unconstitutional, and is inhumane and barbaric. Thedeath penalty constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of theEighth and Fourteenth Amendments (Bedau 2). Those who had shown no respect forlife would be restrained, permanently if necessary, so they could not furtherendanger other members of the community (Cauthen 2). But the purpose ofconfinement would not be vengeance or punishment (Cauthen 2). Rather an idealcommunity would show no mercy even to those who had shown no mercy (Cauthen 2).
It would return good for evil. The aim of isolation is reconciliation and notrevenge. Although the founders of the new country were generally in favor of thedeath penalty for certain crimes, many Americans in the late Eighteenth andearly Nineteenth century were highly vocal opponents, known as abolitionists(Stewart 12). The best known of the American abolitionists was Dr. BenjaminRush, a signer of The Declaration of Independence and a confidant of BenjaminFranklin (Stewart 12). Like many other Americans at the time, Rush equated thedeath penalty with a cruel monarchy specifically that of England’s George andbelieved that the new republic should have nothing to do with executions(Stewart 12). Rush wrote a number of pamphlets and books arguing that the veryidea of a death penalty contradicted the notion of humanity and divine love(Stewart 12). Who are we to destroy what god has made”. It is farbetter to reform a criminal than to destroy him. It is shown that Capitalpunishment leads many citizens suffering before they are officially dead. WhenMississippi executed Jimmy Lee Gray in the gas chamber in 1983, his head was notimmobilized (Stewart 30). As the poison gas began suffocating Gray, eyewitnessesand media representatives reporting Gray suffering a torturous death, hishead flailing about wildly, smashing the medal pipe (behind his chair used forsupport) many times before he lost consciousness” (Stewart 30). Theelectric chair and hanging too, sometimes fail to be quick, and there have beenglitches in lethal injections- executioners have sometimes had difficultyfinding usable veins into which to inject the poison, and some victims havesuffered breathing trauma before being rendered unconscious by the injection(Stewart 30). Several electrocutions in recent years have taken more thanfifteen minutes to kill the condemned man, and meanwhile he has been severelyburnt (Stewart 76). How can it serve the purposes of a modern society to condonesuch torture. Americans also express great concern over the possibility that aninnocent person maybe killed by the state for the crime he or she did not commit(Jackson 45). At least 23 cases have resulted in the execution of innocentpeople (Jackson 45). Since 1900, this country, there have been on the averagemore than four cases per year in which an entirely innocent person was convictedof murder. (Bedau 8). Scores of these people were sentenced to death. In manycases, a reprieve or commutation arrived just hours, or even minutes, before thescheduled execution (Bedau). In 1986 a white women was shot and killed at a drycleaners in Monroeville, Alabama. (Stewart 66). The town was shocked by themurder; however, for the next eight months the police were unable to come upwith any likely suspects (Stewart 66). Finally police arrested Walter McMillian,a black man who lived in a nearby town. (Stewart 66). McMillian denied murderingthe women at the dry cleaners; he claimed he was at a fish fry all that day withfriends and relatives (Stewart 66). In fact, his story corroborated by severalpeople (Stewart 66). Nevertheless, McMillian was arrested, tried, convicted, andimprisoned on death row even before formal sentencing (Stewart 66). For morethan six years, Walter McMillian lived on death row while various appeals werefiled in his behalf, all of which were denied (Stewart 67). Eventually, however,new attorneys took over the case an a volunteer basis, and were able todemonstrate serious improprieties in the prosecution’s case, such as withholdingevidence that would have proved McMillian’s innocence (Stewart 67). Thetelevision show 60 minutes featured McMillian’s case in November 1992 (Stewart67). Partly because of outraged public response to the report, Alabama agreed tobegin a new investigation, and eventually admitted that a terrible mistake hadbeen made (Stewart 67). On March

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