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Death Penalty

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Death Penalty

Advocates of the death penalty recognize that no system is perfect and that applying the death penalty runs a small risk of executing someone who is innocent. Is this a price society should be willing to pay?

Regardless of my personal views on the actual right to take a human life by legal means or otherwise, I strongly believe that the risk of killing an innocent person in the name of justice negates the benefits of imposing the death penalty. However, before I go into my own views on the risk of loss of innocent life I would like to explore some of the arguments for the death penalty. Mosser tells us that "some have argued that the death penalty is a symbol of a society's respect for life, and of the humanity of the victim and the murderer" (2010, pg2). I would argue that this very right to life is exactly why the government should not have the right to use the death penalty. To say that murder is wrong, and as a murderer you are taking away the most precious of rights, the right to life, now gives us the right to murder you is an argument that holds no water for me. Mosser goes on to tell us that those who are against aboloshing the death penalty answer this by arguing that the murderer has removed themself from our society by taking away someone elses' right to life, thereby removing themself from the rights granted within our society, including the right to life (2010, pg3). There is also the argument that severe punishments have historically proven to serve as a deterrent to violent and criminal behavior. By choosing to impose the harshest punishment, loss of life, it then serves as the biggest deterrent and the number of murders committed will decrease. I will not dispute this argument, as it most certainly has been proven to be an effective method. This, for me, is where it leads into the question of what risks are there with using this ultimate punishment for the crime of murder.

There is a very high risk, that an innocent person will be both accused and convicted of murder. This has happened many times in the past. Is it worth the loss of life to a mother, father, sister, brother, son or daughter who has been wrongly accused and convicted? Is the loss of life of an innocent person and the loss suffered by their family, friends and society an accpetable loss to be able to impose the death penalty on those who truly are guilty? I do not believe so. In fact I would go as far as to say that it is an inexcusable risk. To argue that the act of taking away the right to life of an innocent person is severe enough to cost a person their own right to life, in and of itself argues that the risk of executing an innocent person is an intolorable act. How far would this theory go, wouldn't we then be required to execute the judge, the jury, the prosecutors for taking away this innocent person's unalienable right to life? Would



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