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The Effectiveness Of Death Penalty As A Punishment To Murderers

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Law enforcers have a duty to ensure that crime is minimized, if not prevented. One of the contentious debates is whether to continue applying the death penalty as a punishment to murderers. While some people maintain an opinion that capital punishment is brutal, others believe that human life is important and should be protected using the worst punishment available. The paper presents a discussion of the arguments that are inherent in the application of capital punishment. Although studies are not conclusive on the issue, the death penalty is beneficial to the United States because it emphasizes the importance of lives of the innocent Americans. The death penalty reduces the likelihood of severe crimes occurring in the future. As a common practice, the role of punishment against lawbreakers is to discourage other people from pursuing the same life course. Similarly, executing murders deters potential killers from performing the acts by threatening their life. However, Kovandzic et al. pose that there is no significant relationship between the death penalty and deterrence (836).

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According to Kovandzic et al. , offenders do not consider the consequences of their actions but concentrate on the short-term benefits (835). Although the conduct of a person may change depending on circumstances, this does not justify the right to murder another individual. Moreover, researchers have mentioned that the study on the effectiveness of deterrence is not conclusive because the capital punishment rarely occurs and takes a long period before a convict is executed (Marcus 846-847). Nonetheless, people fear death and are likely to reconsider their conduct before they execute a death warranting offence. Capital punishment, therefore, discourages potential murderers. The death penalty is justified based on retribution.

The purpose of the judicial system is to protect the lives of the citizens in a just way. Killing a person disturbs the balance of justice in the society stimulating a cycle of violence (Sethuraju et al. 7). Accordingly, it is upon the courts to restore balance by executing the murderers. Contrariwise, the contemporary society is mature and advocates for high principles while dealing with a human life. The system should not extend violence to the law offender because it encourages people to get a revenge, but should consider other decisive measures in dealing with the convict. Nevertheless, murder is a cruel and heinous crime and the law system must allow the worst punishment available to show that killing cannot be tolerated in the US. The death penalty is the most appropriate punishment for murderers because any lesser action against a killer undermines the value of protecting the lives of the victims (Sethuraju et al. 13). Thus, death penalty conveys a message that the lives of the Americans are highly protected. Capital punishment cannot be avoided on the basis that there is a possibility of executing an innocent person. Critically, neither can the execution of a person be reversed or amended. Killing a convict involves a risk that the individual may be framed. According to Gross et al. , electrifying an innocent person is not permissible because the individual does not pose any threat to the society (7230). Although people may be punished for crimes they did not commit, the cases are extremely rare. Gross et al. reveal that only 4. 1 percent of the defendants convicted to death were prosecuted erroneously in the United States between 1973 and 2004 (7234-7235).

As long as the court thoroughly investigates the allegations, then there are minimal chances that the innocents would be prosecuted. Furthermore, the advancement in technology and science help the criminal justice system to utilize techniques that cannot be disputed, such as DNA, to prove that the offender is guilty or innocent (Gross et al. 7235). Conclusively, the possibility of applying death sentences on innocent citizens is extremely rare. The US judicial system applies the death penalty fairly. Some researchers claim that the courts use irrational factors including the quality of defence, the defendant’s or victim’s race, or the place where the crime is committed while making a decision. Every court in the US has an obligation to provide lawyers to defendants who are convicted of serious crimes. As most convicts cannot afford competent attorneys, they depend on the court to assign them random lawyers. However, Marcus reports that observers establish that in few instances the lawyers assigned have caseloads, may not be prepared for the trial, or have the inadequate experience to handle complex matters (854). In fact, some cases have been overturned for the reason that the lawyer representing the defendant is incompetent. On the other hand, Marcus poses that it is difficult to appellate the performance of a lawyer unless there is reasonable agreement that the conviction would have yielded different results (854).

Inevitably, it is a responsibility of the court to ensure that a proven lawyer is assigned to the defendants especially in cases of murder instead of ruling out the punishment. Additionally, some studies suggest that capital punishment is racially divisive. According to Marcus, more African Americans who murdered whites were convicted as opposed to White Americans who had killed blacks in a span of 20 years (859). Additionally, the punishment is less frequently adopted when the victim is an African American than when the victim is a White American. Similarly, the prosecutors hardly ever withdraw the death penalty when the victim is a White American. The results suggest that the judicial system values the lives of White Americans over that of African Americans. If the death penalty is used on the basis of racial discrimination, then the punishment serves to divide Americans into groups. In contrast, more African Americans face the death penalty because they proportionately kill people more than the White Americans. Each criminal act is also unique and deserves exceptional scrutiny (Alesina & La Ferrara 3431). Furthermore, the judicial system uses discretion in matters concerning capital punishment and only applies the punishment when the crime deserves extreme actions. Accordingly, the criminal justice system does not necessarily discriminate on the basis of race. The death penalty is beneficial to the United States. Although scholars insist that there is no relationship between capital punishment and deterrence, the studies are not conclusive because the punishment is rarely applied. However, it is apparent that many people fear death and would reconsider their action before killing a person.

Furthermore, the US constitution protects the lives of citizens and anything less than the death penalty undermines the value of the victims. Some researchers also claim that many innocent people are executed. In contrast, other studies have established an insignificant number of convicts being prosecuted for crimes they did not commit. Nonetheless, the judicial system has improved because of advance in technology which allows them to use DNA to effectively identify the murderer. Other researchers argue that most convicts cannot afford lawyers and solely depend on the court to provide them with attorneys who may be incompetent. Some also claim that the system is racially divisive. The constitution, however, protects every citizen and the courts have to use discretion in matters concerning the death penalty. Ultimately, the death penalty deters potential killers and cannot be discredited based on the various assumptions.

15 April 2020

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