“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” A wise leader Gandhi, verbalized this quote. Gandhi is a leader who believes that change can only be achieved with peaceful interactions among individuals. The death penalty is a controversial debate that is constantly being argued against. First and foremost, the killing of another, is against many religions, but in some cases like we learned in class, killing can be justified when one is wronged.
In my final project, I will be discussing some of the contributing factors closely related with the death penalty, and the overall effects that practices like this have on society.
First and foremost, I think it is safe to say that wealth is one of the important factors involved with the death penalty is class and wealth. Those who cannot afford their own attorney at trial have a less of a chance avoiding the death sentence an those who can. (Whitehead3) These issues are not only unfair to the defendants but to everyone else involved in the situation as well. Lawyers who lack the skills, resources, and commitment to handle such serious matters often defend poor people accused of capital crimes. This fact is confirmed case after case. It is not the facts of the crime, but the quality of legal representation, that distinguishes the cases (Bright 1836).
With that in mind, in a case when two individuals might have committed similar crimes but the one who cannot afford an attorney has more of a chance to face the death penalty. For example, lack of quality legal representation made a difference for Gary Nelson’s capital case, a suspect convicted wrongfully of murder. Although he was let free, it was not until after after he had already been convicted and sentenced to death.
Like we learned in class, the people in power continue to stay in power, oppressing anyone else who is different than them. This becomes evident when we look at the statistics of African Americans on death row in places like Florida or Texas.
Currently, the Supreme court is hearing arguments over whether three-drug combination that could be used in executions of three condemned Oklahoma prisoners might cause unusual pain and suffering, violating Eighth Amendment; conservative justices express skepticism over argument that sedative midazolam, which factored into botched 2014 execution, did not reliably render prisoners unconscious during procedure
Additionally, opposing sides feel that the death penalty will keep the nation in line and in place. They view the death penalty as a threat to potential murderers. However, in most cases, these individuals are ignoring the negative impacts that the death penalty is bringing into communities. Supporters of the death penalty believe that the sentence is decreasing murders but there is no certainty on that belief. The death penalty is only planting seeds for a never-ending cycle of violence. The number of negative impacts outweighs the little good that the death penalty can do. Supporters of the death penalty feel that this punishment is the only way a victim can receive justice, however there are other ways in which justice can be served while reducing the price. “A North Carolina study also performed a cost-benefit and found a $2 million difference between a death sentence and a life without parole sentence,” (Declour2). There are other punishment options, for example, life without parole that can beyond a doubt make a difference on the price tag while still serving justice. In addition, with all that money left over, there are countless options that the money could be spent on to assist communities to grow and improve. Executing criminals is holding communities back in several ways. For example, as a result of the death penalty, many states have had to lay off workers and had severe cuts on programs and services that are crucial to have within a community.
This provides no change towards the violence that is done in America and only promotes revenge not only to society, but inmates as well. Revenge summons fear throughout the communities all over our country. This possible death sentence also brings a dark and negative impact into our humanity. It is crucial for individuals to look at these factors when deciding whether the death penalty is the best choice for everyone. The death penalty should be completely abolished in America because it encourages revenge, the cost is extremely high, and it is a flawed system.
When we put it all into perspective, it is clear to understand that capital punishment is not something that works well, in the United States at least.
Bright, Stephen. Counsel or the Poor: “The Death Sentence Not for the Worst Crime but for the Worst Lawyer”: The Yale Journal Vol.103, (1994): pp.1835-1883. Print.
Cuomo, Mario M. “Death Penalty Is Dead Wrong: It’s Time to Outlaw Capital Punishment in America-Completely.” The Death Penalty, 2011. Web. 10 April 2015.
Delcour, Julie. :”The Cost of the Death Penalty Outweighs Its Benefits to Society.” The
Death Penalty. Ed. Jenny Cromie and Lynn M. Zott. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2013. Web. 1 April 2015.
Gould, Jon B. The Innocence Commission: Preventing Wrongful Convictions and Restoring the Criminal Justice System. New York: New York, 2008. Print.
Gandhi, Mahatma. The Story of my Experiences With Truth. Beacon Press, 1993. Print.
Koch, Edward. “Justice Is Served with the Death Penalty.” The Death Penalty (2013): Web. 23 April 2015.