The Debate Over Capital Punishment Essay

1501 words - 6 pages

The Debate over Capital Punishment

South Carolina, January 15, 1993. After wounding an Orangeburg, S.C. police officer with a misfired bullet, Thomas Treshawn Ivey, an Alabama prison escapee, proceeded to fired five more shots into the police officer from a handgun at close range after the wounded police office had reached for his gun. Ivey fled the scene but was quickly apprehended. This scenario is not to different from the horrible acts of violence that lead an offender to death row where today some 3,500 people are awaiting the ultimate punishment.
The topic of capital punishment is, and has been a sensitive issue. Debates over the capital punishment are centered on the morality of taking a human life. Questions on whether or not our justice system is capable of sentencing a person to death on accurate evidence. Civil rights groups are even involved claiming that races and financial backgrounds can either save or condemn the accused. While these are the arguments of those who stand opposed to the death penalty, there is also a great deal of people in support of capital punishment. These people see it as an effective means of punishment and deterrent to violent crime. An effective way of cutting the costs involved with housing an inmate for life. Supporters also believe that it is a way to help those associated with the victim of a violent crime to find closure to acts of such violence. Although the two sides of the argument over the death penalty should not be ignored, I believe that there is a more important issue that we can pay more attention. I think that the true argument that comes from the topic of the death penalty is not actually about the death penalty itself but about large problems that face America.
The ultimate punishment otherwise know as the death penalty or capital punishment has been part of the U.S. Justice system during most of America’s history and continued on until 1972 when it was banned by the supreme court. The court supported its decision by claiming that the individual states had standards that were unsatisfactory, and that these states gave to much power to individual judges and juries, 1972 Furman vs. Georgia. In 1976, after a period of only four years, the Supreme Court reversed its early decision, 1976 Greg vs. Georgia, made in 1972 saying that because the states had made the necessary reforms, “ The punishment of death does not invariably violate the Constitution.” The Supreme Court’s decision, which stands on capital punishment, has not changed since 1976. However, in recent years there has been an increase in support for those who are opposed to capital punishment. The reasons for this increase range is from arguments made by groups like the ACLU which say that capital punishment is concentrated on the poor, on minorities, and even on where the accused lives, to the risk involved with executing an innocent man or woman.
Although those who are in support of capital punishment...

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