Kelly BarrettProfessor Hankinson English 1208 December 2017Capital

Kelly BarrettProfessor Hankinson English 1208 December 2017Capital punishment Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is death as a punishment for a crime an offender has committed. Capital punishment is the most harsh and permanent type of punishment one can receive from a judge. It can be dated all the way back to 1608 in the american colonies and is still used in some states today.

There are 31 states that still have the death penalty in place, and 19 states that no longer have the death penalty. There are 5 different methods for the death penalty: lethal inject, gas chambers, hanging, firing squad and electrocution. The number one method used in every state is lethal injection.

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Much controversy is talked about the capital punishment. Some people believe Capital punishment is an ideal punishment but I do not believe that killing people because they killed someone really goes to prove a point. The death penalty has many flaws to it and should be abolished nationwide. Some people argue inmates that do horrendous crimes need to be sentenced to the death penalty. But time after time inmates that have been sentenced to death row are later found innocent.

In a recent study done by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences claims that one in every 25 people are put on to the death row in the United States for crimes they did not commit. That comes out to about 4.1% , which is pretty high considering this is someone’s life that is on the line. There have been many people who were executed and years later are found to actually be innocent. Claude Jones, a man executed in 2000, was found to be innocent 10 years later.

He was convicted for a liquor store shooting because of a hair follicle that was found at the scene of the crime. The hair follicle was compared to 15 other peoples that had entered the store that day but his seemed to match the best. DNA testing was not prevalent around this time era so therefore there was no solid proof it was his. He was executed based off that one insufficient physical evidence. Another example is of a man named Cameron Todd Willingham who was convicted in 1992 for lighting his house on fire with his three kids inside. He was sentenced to death row and was executed in 2004. Not long after he was executed the Texas Forensic Science Commission realized that the evidence that was used to convict willingham was misconstrued and the fire was actually accidental.

Jones and Willingham are just two of many that have been falsely accused of a crime that cost him their lives Many people believe the death penalty is far cheaper than it is to keep a heinous criminal in prison. In reality it is much more expensive to kill people on the death row.  The price for the death penalty is much higher than the cost of keeping an inmate in prison for life. According to the DPIC or “Death Penalty Information Center” on average it cost 1.26 million taxpayer dollars to go through the process of the death penalty. That come out to a bout 90,00 thousand more taxpayer dollars then it does for a person in general population (DPIC). In the State of California there are currently 714 criminals on death row.

According to the information stated above the current 714 inmates will cost the California taxpayers 64,260,000 more dollars than it would to keep them in general population. Although the cost difference varies from state to state, there is always a significant difference when it comes to putting inmates on death row rather than keeping them in prison (without parole). The cost for death penalty cost so much more than keeping a prisoner in prison for life because of the long and complex judicial process. The first thing after the defendant is convicted comes the initial appeal (also known as the direct appeal), which is standard procedure  of appealing your sentence  for a crime.  Like in a normal criminal cases the convicted can appeal the: mistakes made at trial including the jury selection, admission of evidence, testimony, and instructions to the jury.

But also like in normal  criminal cases the convicted cannot appeal the facts of the case, they can only appel that laws were applied in correctly to their case. Then there is  a review process where they make sure the defendants rights are properly protected. This makes sure they have credible legal representation and the right to due process of law. After the direct appeal there is a post-conviction review. The post conviction review is a review of the case and conviction, where the defendant receives their sentencing. After the post-conviction review the judicial process leads to the federal habeas corpus. The federal habeas corpus is a writ used for determining whether or not the convicted sentencing is lawful. This process takes years and years and cost hundreds and thousands of dollars and that is why the death penalty cost more than life in prison without parole.

Income levels also can have an effect on weather or not they will receive the death penalty. Defendants that can not afford a lawyer will be appointed with a public defender who is usually not as skilled or trained as one who people with more money would hire. These lawyers usually no more about the laws and the loopholes within them which usually leads their defendants to lesser sentences than those with just an appointed public defender. There has been case after case of heinous crimes where the defendant did not receive a harsh punishment that they deserved due to the fact their lawyers were very skilled.    The argument that the pro lifers use (pro life as in against the death penalty) is that it goes  the eighth amendment of the United States Constitution. The eighth amendment states that no persons convicted should face cruel and unusual punishment.  “It is estimated that 3% of U.S.

executions in the period from 1890 to 2010 were botched”(DPIC). A botched execution is when an execution is carried out carresly or not in the correct legal way. The death penalty method that has the most botched executions is the lethal injection which is also the most commonly used method.  “A convicted murderer in Arizona gasped and snorted for more than 90 minutes after a lethal injection” (pearce). Joseph Rudolph Wood III was sentenced to the death penalty for the murder of his girlfriend and girlfriends father.

The video of woods showed him being handcuffed ad escorted in where he was then strapped down into the chair. Next a medical assistant tried to hook an iv up but could not find a vein that would work in either arm so he went for one in the groin area. Next he said his goodbyes to his family and they began the procedure.

They first injected him with anesthesia which seemed to knock him out for a few minutes but once they injected him with the other drugs he began opening his eyes and a little and moving a bit. Wood was gasping and shrieking in pain during this time but the medic on sight said to continue on with the procedure. The executioners used fifteen times more sedatives than they originally thought they were going to need.  Lethal injection length of time varies, it can be as fast as 5 minutes or take as long as 2 hours but no prisoner should have to suffer during an execution.

Another example of a botched executions is a man of the name Clayton Lockett. Clayton Lockett was executed in 2014, But his execution did not go quite as planned. The day he was to be executed he tried to kill himself by cutting himself with a razor and take a bunch of pills he had been hiding in his cell. when Officers went to get him, he was still conscious but was refusing to leave his cell.

The officers tased and dragged him out of his cell. Once Lockett was locked down in the chair to receive the lethal injections that’s when things started to go down hill. The procedure took 43 minutes and Locket was seizing, whimpering, and squirming the full 43 minutes. It was later known that the drugs used for the lethal injection o Clayton Lockett were not test in the United States prior to his execution.People believe that retribution is going to make everything right.

Retribution is a punishment that is morally right for a wrong or criminal act. An example of retribution is the death penalty because some say it will make other people not kill other people in the fear of getting the death penalty. According to a study done by Michael Radelet, author of the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, “Eighty-eight percent of the country’s top criminologists do not believe the death penalty acts as a deterrent to homicide”(Radelet). Although there is no solid statistics on the issue that there has been any correlation of killers and their fear of the death penalty there is studies of what criminologist believe to be true. If someone wants to murder someone else they are not going to be worried in the slightest of the death penalty.

Prisoners should have life in prison without parole but a chance to get rehabilitation help. The main goal should be to teach a lesson and prevent the same crime to happen in the future. I believe that some cases inmates should have no chance for parole but they can help around the prison and receive therapy to work out their problems.After a look through all the evidence, it is obvious the death penalty should be put to rest. The amount of money that goes in to the death penalty can be spent other places and the prisoner can sit in jail for the rest of their life without parole.

A lot of  believe that this is a far more harsh punishment. Many innocent people have lost their lives to the death penalty due to insufficient evidence. There is no going back to bringing a human back from the dead.  There is no evidence that the death penalty is going to deter someone mind to not murder someone. If that was the case no one would murder anymore in the fear of being executed.

Many people that are executed come from poverty because they can not afford a skilled public defender as more wealthier people can. Killing people to prove killing people is wrong is not really sending a clear message. There has been numerous botched executions here in the United States, an example I used in my paper was the use of drugs that had not been tested here in the United States before using on an inmate. The death penalty has many flaws and does not seem appropriate to still have around when we have other options of punishment for a criminal.

Works cited Pearce, Matt, et al. “Arizona Killer Takes 2 Hours to Die, Fueling Lethal-Injection Debate.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 24 July 2014,

“Botched Executions.” Botched Executions | Death Penalty Information Center, Levy, Pema. “One in 25 Sentenced to Death in the U.

S. Is Innocent.” Newsweek, 16 Feb.

2016,”10 Innocent People Who Were Tragically Executed.” Listverse, 21 June 2014,”Top 10 Pro & Con Arguments – Death Penalty –” Should the Death Penalty Be Allowed?,”#DeathPenaltyFail: A Lethal Injection.” , 2016.


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