The Death Penalty Persuasive Essay Research Paper

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The Death Penalty (Persuasive) Essay, Research Paper Susan Sarandon, who starred in a film about capital punishment called Dead Man Walking, had an interesting conversation with her daughter about the film. Sarandon was explaining to her young daughter how capital punishment works: First Billy kills Steve, then the government kills Billy, to punish him for killing Steve. To this the young girl replied, well then who kills the government? This little girl unwittingly stumbled into one of the most controversial topics in the world, capital punishment. In this speech I will give some background about capital punishment then using statistics and facts I will share why I believe that the death penalty is wrong. I realize that some of you may disagree with me, and that s

understandable, all I ask is that you listen to the facts before you decide to side with me or not. Before hearing the arguments about capital punishment one must understand some of the history and basic information. Capital Punishment according to webster is imposition of a penalty of death by the state. The earliest recorded capital punishment was 1750 B.C. From the fall of Rome to the beginnings of the modern era, capital punishment was practiced throughout Western Europe. The modern movement for the abolition of capital punishment began in the 18th century with the writings of Montesquieu and Voltaire. Some of the first countries to abolish capital punishment included Venezuela (1863), San Marino (1865), and Costa Rica (1877). As of the beginning of 1992, 44 countries had

abolished the death penalty, while 16 other countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, and Israel, retained capital punishment only for treason and war crimes. There are 106 countries and territories that retain the death penalty for ordinary crimes (burglary etc.), including many countries in the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe, as well as the republics of the former Soviet Union. Since the 1970s, almost all capital sentences in the United States have been imposed for homicide. There has been intense debate among Americans regarding the constitutionality of capital punishment. Critics charge that executions are violations of the cruel and unusual punishment provision of the Eighth Amendment; supporters of the death penalty counter that this clause was not

intended to prohibit legal executions. Many people fail to realize that in 1972 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that capital punishment was no longer legal. It abolished the Federal and state death penalty laws of the time, but it left the way open for Congress or state legislatures to enact new capital punishment laws in the future. A number of states enacted new capital punishment laws soon after the ruling. In Gregg v. Georgia (1976), the court allowed capital punishments to resume in certain states. Since then, 38 states have reinstated the death penalty. In order to determine whether or not the death penalty should exist, we must determine if it is fulfilling its intended purpose. The death penalty is used for two main reasons: to deter crime and to bring criminals to justice.

Whether or not it brings the criminals to justice is debatable, but I won t go into that in this speech. Many people believe that the threat of death also deters people from committing violent crimes such as murder, but the statistics tell a different story: let s take a closer look. To see if capital punishment actually does deter crime, authors John Sorenson, Robert Wrinkle, Victoria Brewer, and James Marquart examined executions in Texas between 1984 and 1997. They speculated that if a deterrent effect were to exist, it would be found in Texas because of the high number of death sentences and executions within the state. But the authors found absolutely no evidence of a deterrent effect. A similar study was done in Oklahoma and it yielded even more surprising results. There