The Death Penalty Essay Research Paper — страница 3

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these ill-fated and helpless men. In yet more cases involving minorities, racial hoaxes occur. Susan Smith v. South Carolina in 1994 involved such a hoax. Smith claimed that she was hijacked and that her kids who were in the car at the time were kidnapped. She blamed this crime on an African American who was between 20 and 30 years old. The entire black community of the town was immediately placed under suspicion. This is a prime example of a racial hoax, because in reality, Smith murdered her own children. (Simpson, 52). She fabricated a crime and blamed an African American because of his race. She immediately believed that by blaming a minority, the blame would be deferred from her. This is not a lone case. It occurs often. A few examples of this are in the cases of, Foster v.

State 1956, Hall v. State 1978, and People v. Lindley 1943. Sadly, these anecdotal examples do not even come close to capturing the vast number of injustices committed in our country in administering the death penalty. Although many people are ignorant of how corrupt and unjust the American system truly is, they cannot ignore these disturbing examples of injustice. The examples discussed above reflect the role eyewitnesses; politics and the community have in perverting outcome and fate of individual’s lives. But, there are still other cases of injustice as well. First of all, failures in police work, whether intentional or unintentional affect the outcomes of many judicial cases. The case of People v. Miller clearly exhibits faulty police work. The case started when Janice May,

an 8-year-old white girl was found beaten and sexually assaulted. On this same evening, Lloyd Miller, who was dealing with his own familial problems, left town. As soon as the police realized this coincidence, not only did they focus on finding evidence to reinforce their belief that Miller committed the crime, but they also stopped searching for other possible suspects. After multiple polygraph tests, fingerprints, blood samples, non-conforming evidence and pubic hair samples, that all proved Miller’s innocence; the police still believed that he was the culprit. Finally, the police persuaded him to confess to the crime by threatening him with the death penalty. “For the exercise of his constitutional right to a determination of his innocence or guilt by a jury” -that is,

for refusing to deny his innocence- “he had to stake his life” (Radelet, 152). Beyond this even, there was a lot of evidence that was neglected and tested improperly. Lassers, who wrote Miller’s story in his book, stated, “The Miller case showed clearly the ineptness, crudity, and unfairness of the American system of criminal justice.” To me the most striking part is not the police ignorance, but fear of the death penalty induced. Many advocates of the death penalty believe that the fright of the consequences of the death penalty serve a great cause. They believe that individuals will hesitate before killing because they are deterred by the harsh consequence. Clearly, however, if someone is sick enough to kill, they are not worried about repercussions, as a deterrent

effect has never been proved. Second of all, as exhibited in the Miller case, the death penalty scares innocent people into confessing to the crimes of others. The fear that is being cast into our society preys upon the innocent, not the guilty. In Radelet’s book, many other instances in which the death penalty resulted in false confessions are identified. In Commonwealth v. Ellison, two of the defendants, acting as eyewitnesses to convict another, “?felt compelled to plea bargain and testify against the defendant out of fear of the death penalty”. Likewise, in Hampton v. Allgood, Mary Kay Hampton “was frightened into pleading guilty to a crime she did not commit because someone told her she would ‘fry in the electric chair’ unless she did so.” And in Carmen v.

State, a mentally retarded boy was arrested for kidnapping, rape and murder, and pleads guilty to the murder charge. “Fear of the death penalty, according to later information had played a role in his client’s decision.” So, does capital punishment act as a deterrent? Upon comparing murder rates during abolitionist and retentionist years, the answer becomes clear. In California, “researchers concluded that, ‘the average annual increase in homicides was twice as high during years in which the death penalty was being carried out than in years during which no one was executed” (Kappeler, 277). The answer is blatantly ‘no’. There is no way that such a system even comes close to acting as a deterrent. If anything it simply allows the innocent, as well as the guilty to