The Alternative For Death Penalty Essay Research

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The Alternative For Death Penalty Essay, Research Paper Mead Shumway of Nebraska, was convicted of the first degree murder of his employer?s wife on circumstantial evidence and sentenced to death by jury. His last words before his execution were: ?I am an innocent man. May God forgive everyone who said anything against me.? The next year, the victim?s husband confessed on his deathbed that he [the husband] had murdered his [own] wife (Radelet, Bedau, Putnam 347). There are an uncertain numerous amount of incidents similar to the one depicted above, that have repeatedly occurred throughout the course of history. Two highly distinguishable figures in the area of capital punishment in the United States, Hugo Bedau and Michael Radelet, discovered in 1992, at least 140 cases,

since 1990, in which innocent persons were sentenced to death (Hook and Kahn 92). In Illinois alone, 12 death row inmates have been cleared and freed since 1987 (Execution Reconsidered). The most conclusive evidence in support of this ?comes from the surprisingly large numbers of people whose convictions have been overturned and who have been freed from death? (Bedau 345). One out of every seven people sentenced to death row are innocent (Civiletti). That?s nearly 15%. The numbers are disturbing. Innocent people are becoming victims of the United States judicial system by its overlooked imperfections. A former president of the American Bar Association (ABA), John J. Curtin Jr., said it best when he told a congressional committee that ?Whatever you think about the death penalty, a

system that will take life must first give justice. Execute justice, not people.? Though some of the innocent death row inmates have managed to escape their execution, there are numerous others who are unable to overturn their sentence through appeals. Many cases of innocence go unheard and result in the unfortunate fatality of an innocent bystander. When the death penalty in 1972 was ruled unconstitutional in Furman v. Georgia, the Justices expected that the ?adoption of narrowly crafted sentencing procedures would protect against innocent persons being sentenced to death?. But the chances that innocent persons have been or will be executed remain astoundingly high (Bedua 344). The United States justice system was formed on the premise that it should protect society?s general

well being from any harm. Processes and procedures have been formed and created in order to ensure that everyone receives fair treatment, but the system has flaws that has let criminals back out on the streets and put innocent people in jail and on death row. How can the nation?s people put trust into an institution which has reportedly failed them again and again? The system can and will, and has in the past, falsely accused someone and wrongfully sentenced them to terminal punishment. Once a convicted prisoner meets the executioner, the prisoner has reached the point of no return. Death cannot be reversed once it has occurred. No issue posed by capital punishment is more disturbing to the public than the prospect that the government might execute innocent people. Proponents to

the death penalty are, of course, also against executing an innocent person (Hook and Kahn 91). Most everyone would agree that killing someone is wrong. Proponents and opponents agree that murder is a heinous act and should be punished. Despite their hatred for those who kill, proponents support the killing of murderers as a just punishment for their deviant behaviors. In this sense, execution can be termed, ?legal murder? because ?executions shares enough of the characteristics of murder to be counted as part of the general category: it includes a victim who does not want to die, and an agent that nonetheless kills [the victim]? (Yanich 98]. Murder is synonymous with kill, as found in the Britannica- Webster Dictionary. To kill is to deprive one of life or to put one to death