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Death Penalty

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The Death Penalty is the lawful imposition of death as a punishment for a crime. There are only three democratic States still adopting this kind of punishment, which are Japan, South Korea and the U.S.. The latter has an internal death penalty conflict though. The Death Penalty is considered by many states in American an efficient way to deal with offenders, while others condemned the practice as unfair. Debates have been raised about the matter, and due to a lack of consensus, the death penalty has become a complex and controversial issue in the country. This essay will argue against the death penalty and how inappropriate it is to the U.S..

Since its implementation in the American Colony, the death sentence has proved to be an unfair system of punishment. Along its history, the death penalty has killed many people, who was later on found innocent. This kind of punishment does not correspond to the American demands for justice in the 21st century, which should be an inexpensive, efficient and fair system. The death penalty is expensive. The costs involved in a trial are exorbitant. The time consuming, which is 25 years in California, together with the staff required in a single death penalty case is estimated to be $500,000 more expensive than a non-death penalty sentence. Every American state which adopts the death penalty has an annual estimated cost of $10 million, money that could be invested in social projects and therefore reduce the crime index, which would save much more lives than taking one. As reinforced by Police Chief James Abbott of West Orange, New Jersey in the website Death Penalty Focus:

"The death penalty is a colossal waste of money that would be better spent putting more cops on the street. New Jersey threw away $250 million on the death penalty over 25 years with nothing to show for it. The death penalty isn't a deterrent whatsoever. New Jersey's murder rate has dropped since the state got rid of the death penalty. If other states abolished the death penalty, law enforcement wouldn't miss it and the cost savings could be used on more effective crime-fighting programs," (par. 3)

Together with its costs, another questionable concern is its effectiveness. Is the death row really effective? The National Pool of Police Chiefs has shown that the best way to prevent crime is by investing in the population by providing jobs and reducing drugs abuse and putting more police patrols in the streets. The states supporters of the death penalty have a higher number of murder cases than the non-supporters, what clearly illustrates how inefficient this penalty is and how social investments can decrease the crime rate. Together with non-supporter states, the American public has also questioned its effectiveness. According to Richard Dieter's A Crisis of Confidence: American's Doubt About the Death Penalty, 60% of the jurors in capital cases believe the Death Penalty is not an effective crime deterrent, against 38% who believes it is and 2% who does not have an opinion. Moreover, the death sentence cases has dropped. In 1990 the country had 300 cases, against 102 in 2006. The number of execution has declined as well. In 1990 there were 98 executions, against 53 in 2006 (8).

The Death Penalty system is not perfect. In search for assurance, the trial process usually takes time and money. The prosecution will need a specialized staff to examine all the evidences, witnesses and the police. Investigations to reconstitute the crime scene. Every step well planned and crime scene well elaborated. What if after all this long lasting and expensive process the evidences points out to an innocent man? Prosecution's mistakes are a reality. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, 71 black, 54 white, 12 Latin and 2 other ethnics, in a total of 153 men, were exonerated from the death row in 37 years. Most of them spent few years in prison, and their innocence was proved by people not related to the justice system, which clarifies how unfair and inefficient it can be, not to mention the racism of the sentence. The prosecutors does not care. They do not face the innocent in the death row, instead they get rid of a long lasting case. It is not uncommon to execute an innocent man. The facts and ambiguities are there and it is easier to blame an innocent than to admit the death penalty system is imperfect. Many men have been wrongfully executed. As Illinois' Governor George Ryan said after the innocence of three death row inmates was proved:

"I cannot support a system which, in its administration, has proven so fraught with error and has come so close to the ultimate nightmare, the state's taking of innocent life... Until I can be sure that everyone sentenced to death in Illinois is truly guilty, until I can be sure with moral certainty that no innocent man or woman is facing a lethal injection, no one will meet that fate." (Amnesty USA, par. 2)

The three men mentioned by the Governor was condemned based on a confession extracted by torture, which is unacceptable and totally against the rights the humanity have fought for. American people are so desperate for justice that they end up closing their eyes and allowing an unfair and cruel system rule them. They forget a human being is facing the death row. When a suspect of a capital crime is put in the media, this human being becomes a monster, and the thirst for justice might lead an innocent to the death row. Cases of wrong conviction are a reality. Since the case



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