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Capital Punishment

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   Morality Constitutionality Deterrence Retribution Irrevocable Mistakes Cost of Death vs. Life in Prison Race Income Level Attorney Quality Physicians at ExecutionPR Death Penalty C! Death Penalty . MoralityPR# $%he crimes of ra&e' torture' treason' ki(na&&in)' mur(er' larceny' an( &er*ury&ivot on a moral co(e that esca&es a&o(ictic +in(is&utably true, &roof by ex&ert testimony or other-ise. ut communities -oul( &lun)e into anarchy if they coul( not act on moral assum&tions less certain than that the sun -ill rise in the east an( set in the -est. Abolitionists may conten( that the (eath &enalty is inherently immoral because )overnments shoul( never take human life' no matter -hat the &rovocation. ut that is an article of faith' not of fact. %he (eath &enalty honors human (i)nity by treatin) the (efen(ant as a free moral actor able to control his o-n (estiny for )oo( or for ill/ it (oes not treat him as an animal -ith no moral sense.$C!# $0ltimately' the moral 1uestion surroun(in) ca&ital &unishment in America has less to (o -ith -hether those convicte( of violent crime (eserve to (ie than -ith -hether state an( fe(eral )overnments (eserve to kill those -hom it has im&risone(. %he le)acy of racial a&arthei(' racial bias' an( ethnic (iscrimination is unavoi(ably evi(ent in the a(ministration of ca&ital &unishment in America. Death sentences are im&ose( in a criminal *ustice system that treats you better if you are  rich an( )uilty than if you are &oor an( innocent. %his is an immoral con(ition that makes re*ectin) the (eath &enalty on moral )roun(s not only (efensible but necessary for those -ho refuse to acce&t une1ual or un*ust a(ministration of &unishment.$2. ConstitutionalityPR# $3im&ly because an execution metho( may result in &ain' either by acci(ent oras an inesca&able conse1uence of (eath' (oes not establish the sort of 4ob*ectively intolerable risk of harm4 +1uotin) the o&inion of the Court from 5armer v. rennan' 6 0. 3. 726' 782' 789 : ;;8<, that 1uali=es as cruel an( unusual... >entucky has a(o&te( a metho( of execution believe( to be the most humane available' one it shares -ith ?6 other 3tates... >entucky4s (ecision to a(here to its &rotocol cannot be vie-e( as &robative of the -anton in@iction of &ain un(er the Ei)hth Amen(ment... %hrou)hout our history' -henever a metho( of execution has been challen)e( in this Court as cruel an( unusual' the Court has re*ecte( the challen)e. ur society has nonetheless stea(ily move( to more humane metho(s of carryin) out ca&ital &unishment.$C!# $Death is... an unusually severe &unishment' unusual in its &ain' in its =nality' an( in its enormity... %he fatal constitutional in=rmity in the &unishment of (eath is that it treats 4members of the human race as nonhumans' as ob*ects to be toye( -ith an( (iscar(e(. +It is, thus inconsistent -ith the fun(amental &remise of the Clause that even the vilest criminal remains a human bein) &ossesse( of common human (i)nity.4 +1uotin) himself from 5urman v. eor)ia' 8B7 0.3. 2?7' 26 : ;2<, As such it is a &enalty that 4sub*ects the in(ivi(ual to a fate forbi((en by the &rinci&le of civilie( treatment )uarantee( by the +Clause,.4 +1uotin) C.. Farren from %ro& v. Dulles' ?69 0.3. 79' B : ;67<, I therefore -oul( hol(' on that )roun( alone' that (eath is to(ay a cruel an( unusual &unishment &rohibite( by the Clause... I -oul( set asi(e the (eath sentences im&ose(... as violative of the Ei)hth an( 5ourteenth Amen(ments.$?. DeterrencePR# $Common sense' lately bolstere( by statistics' tells us that the (eath &enalty -ill (eter mur(er... Peo&le fear nothin) more than (eath. %herefore' nothin) -ill (eter a criminal more than the fear of (eath... life in &rison is less feare(. Mur(erersclearly &refer it to execution GG other-ise' they -oul( not try to be sentence( to life in &rison instea( of (eath... %herefore' a life sentence must be less (eterrent than a (eath sentence. An( -e must execute mur(erers as lon) as it is merely &ossible that their execution &rotects citiens from future mur(er.$  C!# $+%,here is no cre(ible evi(ence that the (eath &enalty (eters crime more eHectively than lon) terms of im&risonment. 3tates that have (eath &enalty la-s (onot have lo-er crime rates or mur(er rates than states -ithout such la-s. An( states that have abolishe( ca&ital &unishment sho- no si)ni=cant chan)es in eithercrime or mur(er rates. %he (eath &enalty has no (eterrent eHect. Claims that each execution (eters a certain number of mur(ers have been thorou)hly (iscre(ite( by social science research.$8. RetributionPR# $3ociety is *ustly or(ere( -hen each &erson receives -hat is (ue to him. Crime(isturbs this *ust or(er' for the criminal takes from &eo&le their lives' &eace' liberties' an( -orl(ly )oo(s in or(er to )ive himself un(eserve( bene=ts. Deserve( &unishment &rotects society morally by restorin) this *ust or(er' makin) the -ron)(oer &ay a &rice e1uivalent to the harm he has (one. %his is retribution' not tobe confuse( -ith reven)e' -hich is )ui(e( by a (iHerent motive. In retribution the s&ur is the virtue of in(i)nation' -hich ans-ers in*ury -ith in*ury for &ublic )oo(... Retribution is the &rimary &ur&ose of *ust &unishment as such... +R,ehabilitation' &rotection' an( (eterrence have a lesser status in &unishment than retribution.$C!# $Retribution is *ust another -or( for reven)e' an( the (esire for reven)e is oneof the lo-est human emotions  &erha&s sometimes un(erstan(able' but not reallya rational res&onse to a critical situation. %o kill the &erson -ho has kille( someone close to you is sim&ly to continue the cycle of violence -hich ultimately (estroys the aven)er as -ell as the oHen(er. %hat this execution someho- )ive 4closure4 to a tra)e(y is a myth. Ex&ressin) oneJs violence sim&ly reinforces the (esire to ex&ress it. ust as ex&ressin) an)er sim&ly makes us more an)ry. It (oes not (rain a-ay. It contaminates the other-ise )oo( -ill -hich any human bein) nee(s to &ro)ress in love an( un(erstan(in).$6. Irrevocable MistakesPR# $...!o system of *ustice can &ro(uce results -hich are BBK certain all the time. Mistakes -ill be ma(e in any system -hich relies u&on human testimony for &roof. Fe shoul( be vi)ilant to uncover an( avoi( such mistakes. ur system of  *ustice ri)htfully (eman(s a hi)her stan(ar( for (eath &enalty cases. o-ever' the risk of makin) a mistake -ith the extraor(inary (ue &rocess a&&lie( in (eath &enalty cases is very small' an( there is no cre(ible evi(ence to sho- that any innocent &ersons have been execute( at least since the (eath &enalty -as reactivate( in ;9... %he inevitability of a mistake shoul( not serve as )roun(s to eliminate the (eath &enalty any more than the risk of havin) a fatal -reck shoul( make automobiles ille)al...$   C!# $...3ince the reinstatement of the mo(ern (eath &enalty' 7 &eo&le have beenfree( from (eath ro- because they -ere later &roven innocent. %hat is a (emonstrate( error rate of innocent &erson for every  &ersons execute(. Fhen the conse1uences are life an( (eath' -e nee( to (eman( the same stan(ar( for oursystem of *ustice as -e -oul( for our airlines... It is a central &illar of our criminal  *ustice system that it is better that many )uilty &eo&le )o free than that one innocent shoul( suHer... Let us re@ect to ensure that -e are bein) *ust. Let us &ause to be certain -e (o not kill a sin)le innocent &erson. %his is really not too much to ask for a civilie( society.$9. Cost of Death vs. Life in PrisonPR# $Many o&&onents &resent' as fact' that the cost of the (eath &enalty is so ex&ensive :at least 2 million &er caseN<' that -e must choose life -ithout &arole :4LFP4< at a cost of  million for 6B years. Pre(ictably' these &ronouncements may be entirely false. 5A +ustice for All, estimates that LFP cases -ill cost  .2 millionG?.9 million more than e1uivalent (eath &enalty cases. %here is no 1uestion that the u& front costs of the (eath &enalty are si)ni=cantly hi)her than for e1uivalent LFP cases. %here also a&&ears to be no 1uestion that' over time' e1uivalent LFP cases are much more ex&ensive... than (eath &enalty cases. &&onents lu(icrously claim that the (eath &enalty costs' over time' ?G B times more than LFP.$C!# $In the course of my -ork' I believe I have revie-e( every state an( fe(eral stu(y of the costs of the (eath &enalty in the &ast 26 years. ne element is common to all of these stu(ies# %hey all conclu(e( that the cost of the (eath &enalty amounts to a net ex&ense to the state an( the tax&ayers. r to &ut it (iHerently'the (eath &enalty is clearly more ex&ensive than a system han(lin) similar cases -ith a lesser &unishment. +It, combines the costliest &arts of both &unishments# len)thy an( com&licate( (eath &enalty trials' follo-e( by incarceration for life... Everythin) that is nee(e( for an or(inary trial is nee(e( for a (eath &enalty case' only more so#O More &reGtrial time...O More ex&erts...O %-ice as many attorneys...O %-o trials instea( of one -ill be con(ucte(# one for )uilt an( one for &unishment.O An( then -ill come a series of a&&eals (urin) -hich the inmates are hel( in the hi)h security of (eath ro-.$
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