Deathsentence for crimes existed from as far back as ancient laws ofChina. (Lu and Terrance 5). The first death sentence penalty islinked to an Egyptian nobility member in the 16thcentury BC who had been accused of performing magic and had to takehis own life. Different codes bought about the death penaltyincluding the Hittite Code, Athens Draconian Code, Roman Law ofTwelve Tablets and the Mosaic Laws. Another infamous execution inhistory is the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Over the years, differentcountries came to adopt the death penalty laws especially Britainwhich influenced most of its colonies in enforcing the laws.
Thedeath penalty is not a just response for taking of an individual’slife. The state has no right to take the life of a person especiallyif it executes them through contemplation and ceremony. Capitalpunishment goes against the civil liberties of a country especiallyif it is driven by essential values of a democratic system. The deathpenalty in itself does not deter crime in the long run. Most policeofficers have also been put on record stating that death penalty isleast effective means through which crime is deterred. A society thatinvolves itself in capital punishment does not value human life atall (Hood and Carolyn 20). Most of the capital punishment verdictsare based on the impulse of revenge. Despite vengeance being a robustnatural emotion it should have no place in the country’s justicesystem. This is because, the mentality of an eye for an eye or lifefor a life is one that is not endorsed by the society. There is noone case whereby the verdict of a torturer was torturing or a rapistbeing sentenced to raping.
Somepeople have argued that capital punishment is morally justified.Simply, they believe that it is “only through killing people willthe others know that killing is wrong”. It has been said that it isin fact, morally wrong not to kill a murderer for their punishmentmust go in line with their crime. The putting of an individual injail does not have any comparison to them taking the life of others.This is because, they will be put in prisons that offer them threefree meals a day, air conditioning regular visits from the familiesand friends and recreation time which is seen as giving morality ahuge slap on the face. In the case of a murderer staying in prison,the relatives and victims of the lives taken will also play part inthe paying of taxes that cater for the murderer in prison if they areimprisoned. This will be an indirect funding for an individual whobrought them grief.
Theslogan killing those who kill others has no morality in it for itmisses a crucial point. This is because, when one kills inself-defense, it is justifiable. Killing can be described as causingdeath to an individual while murder is the illegitimate andmalevolent killing of a human being by another. However, one shouldask themselves whether it is morally right to burn down the house ofan arsonist, rape rapists or execute a murderer. The simple answer toall these questions is no. There is no value in carrying out eitherof the punishments. This is because, in case a rapist is raped, itwill make another individual to degrade themselves by engaging in thesame. It will not prevent the rapist from raping another individual.Killing should also be labeled as being wrong, there should be nojustification of it being a case of self-defense but it should alsobe punishable by law. In the case of police officers, they arerepresentatives of the state but are not allowed to murder a personand claim they were trying to save the victim, so the state itselfhas no right to kill people and justify their actions as doing it onbehalf of the victims.
Thedeath penalty has been said that it saves on costs thus is cheaperthan keeping a prisoner in jail and granting them parole (Fridell10). This is because the death penalty will prevent people frommaking countless appeals as they seek to be charged of first degreemurder. This will mean that they are sentenced to life in prisonwithout any chance of getting parole. On the other hand, the deathpenalty will lead to guilty pleas that will offset such expectationsby convicts thus saving money spent on trials and limiting theprospects for appeals. The execution of an individual does not costanything. A rope can be used or the hiring of a firing squad is alsoanother means of carrying out the execution. The firing squads willuse their own ammunition and guns whereas the rope can be used inother executions.
Thedeath penalty is becoming more and more expensive with itsimplementation in the justice system of a country (Fridell 15). Itrequires more lawyers, experts and time for it to be successfullyimplemented during the preparation of death penalty case, theprosecutors and defense attorneys require about a whole year. Inevery prosperous sentence, it is always appealed in a number offederal and state courts and this means that the state will have topay the prosecutors and defenders to pick over the case transcriptsand the clerks and judges to devote a lot of hours going from end toend with the appeal works. The housing of death row prisoners in thepenitentiaries is also more expensive than the general populationthey are housed in solitary confinement whereby they will have theirown guards and other things provided for them. Following a 2010report released by the Judicial Conferenceof USA, the cost fordeath trial cases in 1998 were at $269,139 and by 2000, they hadreached $620,932 (TheFederal Death Penalty System 10).
Thelength of time it takes before a death row prisoner is executed hasbeen a matter of debate especially in the USA. Following theseventeen year long wait of Michael Ross execution, it is evidentthat the take a lot of time. In the USA death row inmates have beenknown to take decades before they are finally executed (Symposium613). As a result, one is also left questioning whether the death rowinmates are subjected to two forms of punishments, solitaryconfinement and the death sentence itself. The major reason as to whysuch cases drag for long is because of the numerous appeals by theconvicts and this brings about a lot of paperwork which must taketime to go through by the court clerks and judges. During this entireperiod of the cases going on, tax payers money has to be used interms of paying the judges, prosecutors and court clerks. The deathrow inmates following their solitary confinement, they have access totheir own guards and other personal things which makes it expensiveto cater for them unlike the prisoners in the general population.this means that these exorbitant costs used is sustaining capitalpunishment will make the country less safe for the resourcesreallocated from other strategies put in place to fight crime. InTexas, where over 300 criminals await there death over 300 inmates ondeath row, it spends more than $ 2 million per case but still therates of murder remain the highest in the country. One can concludethat the cost of death penalty is quite high than life imprisonmentwithout according inmates parole (Mandery & Evan 98)
Themain goal for criminal law according to the courts is punishment.Because of an individual’s crime, they should suffer. Punishmentlevels a basis upon which an individual will suffer and not benefitfrom his/her criminal activities. For punishment to be justified, itmust satisfy at least one of following conditions, incapacitation,deterrence, retribution and rehabilitation. The death penalty clearlymeets the incapacitation element but so does life imprisonmentwithout parole. If this is given as the verdict, there is no chancefor the offender to neither kill again nor escape from prison.Restitution and rehabilitation have no meaning for an individual isexecuted thus it is depended on deterrence or retribution. However,capital punishment does not deter crime in any way for still peoplestill engage in murderous acts. This leaves capital punishment beinga form of retribution, i: e and “eye for an eye”. This is basedon emotions rather than policy making through democratic means. Forthose who allow for capital punishment they base their justificationson emotional even by retribution. From a religious perspective, thisgoes against the commandments “thou shall not kill”. It is alsoonly God who has the right to decide when one’s death is to occurand not a human being.
Fridell,Ron. CapitalPunishment.New York: Benchmark Books, 2004. Print
TheFederal Death Penalty System.A Statistical Survey (1988-2000).Buffalo, N.Y: Hein, 2001. Print.
HoodRoger and Carolyn Hoyle. The death penalty: A worldwideperspecvtive.OUP Oxford
Lu,Hong, and Terrance, D. Miethe. China’s death penalty History, lawand contemporary practices. Vol 5. Routledge, 2010
Mandery,Evan J, and Evan J. Mandery. CapitalPunishment in America: A Balanced Examination.Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2011. Print. 2015
Symposium.The Jurisprudential Legacy of John Paul Ii.Jamaica, N.Y: St. John`s University, School of Law, 2006. Print
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