Death penalty is the process by which a person is killed by a government as a form of penalty for a crime. The process is also referred to as the capital punishment where the judicial verdict that a person should be put to death, while the real enforcement is called the execution. Crimes lead to the application of death penalty is identified as capital offenses or a capital crime. This paper will discuss death sentence facts, its merits, and demerits, the paper will highlight some wrongful penalty cases and death penalty in different countries. Death Penalty Facts
The history of capital punishment dates back in the ancient Greece in about 621 BC as indicated in the Athenian legal system where it was applied to a wide range of crimes. Biblical evidence points out that people were called upon to stone criminal and evil does in public while other were crucified. In the United States, 60 percent or citizens support capital punishment, according to a survey conducted in 2014, the survey findings, argued that the punishment was a useful tool for preserving laws and order, deter crimes and also cost a life that life imprisonment. The capital sentence is legal in 32 US states after it was reestablished by the supreme court in 1976, as December 2014, abut 1394 people have been executed. At least 1 in 25 people who receive death verdicts in the US is innocent. States spend more in carrying out trials that involve capital punishment since they are more costly than trials that are seeking life in prison sentence (Garland, 358).
Pros of Death Penalty
The carrying of the death penalty is considered as a way through which the government honors human dignity by offering retribution to the victims; that provides the consolation of the grieving families. Affected families will feel at ease knowing that such perpetrators of heinous crimes never can cause future tragedies to other families. People fear nothing else other than death; the death sentence is viewed as a perfect way through which the government can deter criminals from committing capital offenses and protecting citizens from such criminal offenses. The government spends a lot of money on feedings, clothing and the provision of health care to the capital offenders. Criminal have been reported to escape maximum security prisons such murderers go back and kill again causing great agony to affected families. Such adverse incidents would have been eliminated if such person were executed after they were found guilty of murder (Banner, 451).
Cons of Death Penalty
However, critics argue that death is severe punishment, no government or state should be given the right to take human life. Capital punishment is rather taken as a mere act of revenge, which is considered as a rational response to a critical situation. In the year 2000, 87 convicted people on death row were freed after crimes placed on them were removed due to their innocence (Garland, 360). In every judgment made on death row, there is always the existence of a margin of error where for every 7 persons executed one is innocent. The physicians who administer the executions infringe their pledge to defend and protect human lives which erode the public assurance that should be placed on the medical profession. It is believed that death punishment is only meant for the poor since the rich can afford a good defense (Banner, 29).
Wrongful Penalty Cases
The Claude Jones case who was executed in the year 2000 for the murder of Allen Hilzendager sentenced to death and later proved to have executed an innocent person since the hair belonged to the victim. The Larry Griffin case who was executed in 1995 a crime of drive-by shooting that allegedly killed a 19 years old drug dealer named Quintin Moss from St. Louis. The act of never contacting the witness defense or prosecution, later investigations proved that the case identified that Missouri executed an innocent man. The minorities are subjected to capital punishment where in every 3 persons executed in the US, 2 of them are African American. As at 2007 48% of the defendant in federal cases with the death penalty is African American when they are only 13% of the nation’s population (Garland 350).
Death Penalty in Different Countries
Currently, about 58 nations in the world actively practice capital punishment; among them, 98 countries have also abolished it for all crimes where they have replaced it with life imprisonment. Other seven nations have also abolished capital punishment for ordinary crimes, leaving it to extraordinary situations such as crime against humanity and war crimes. About 35 countries have eradicated the punishment de-facto where they have not carried it out for a period of ten years. 140 countries are considered by the amnesty international to have ended the act of executing the death sentence. The international law prohibits all countries in the world from carrying out capital punishment on persons who are under the age of 18 years at the time they committed their crimes. However, some countries have been involved in juvenile capital crimes such Sudan Iran and Saudi Arabia. Over 60 percent of people in the world lives in nations where capital punishment take places such as Indonesia, United States of America, India, and people republic of china as the four most populous countries in the world (MeluskY, 44).
Banner, S. “Book review: The contradictions of American capital punishment.” Punishment & Society 6.4 (2004): 450-452. Print.
Garland, D. “Capital Punishment And American Culture.” Punishment & Society 7.4 (2005): 347-376. Print.
Melusky, Joseph Anthony, and Keith A. Pesto. Capital punishment. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Greenwood, 2011. Print.