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Argument against Legal Punishment

Moreover, for repressive reasons, the death penalty could only be defended for the crime of murder, and not for one of the many other crimes that were often subjected to this type of punishment (rape, kidnapping, espionage, treason, drug trafficking). Few advocates of the death penalty are prepared to systematically limit themselves to the narrow framework of reprisals. Either way, execution is more than a punishment imposed in retaliation for killing a life. As Nobel laureate Albert Camus wrote: “For there to be equivalence, the death penalty should punish a criminal who had warned his victim of the date on which he would inflict a terrible death on him, and who had left him at his mercy for months from that moment on. You do not encounter such a monster in your private life. (Reflections on the Guillotine, in Resistance, Rebellion and Death 1960) The American Civil Liberties Union believes that the death penalty is inherently contrary to the constitutional prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment and the guarantees of due process and equal protection by law. In addition, we believe that the state should not give itself the right to kill people – especially if it kills intentionally and ceremoniously, in the name of the law or in the name of its people, and if it does so in an arbitrary and discriminatory manner. In 1994, the United States signed the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). [40] The treaty, which has now been ratified or signed by 176 countries, prohibits the imposition of physical or psychological violence on people in detention. Although it does not explicitly prohibit the death penalty, the treaty prohibits the intentional infliction of pain. However, since 1976, more than 20 executions in the United States have involved prolonged, painful, or shocking errors, such as the head of a detainee catching fire, or a long and distressing search for a vein suitable for lethal injection. Aside from accidents, our methods of execution – lethal injection, electric shock, firing squad, gas chamber and hanging – can be inherently painful. The CAT also prohibits the infliction of pain and suffering “because of any discrimination of any kind”[41], but racial inequality is endemic on our death row. In 2009, the American Law Institute (ALI), the leading independent organization in the United States that does scientific work to clarify, modernize, and improve the law, removed the death penalty from its model penal code.

The ALI, which created the modern legal framework for the death penalty in 1962, has pointed out that the penalty is so arbitrary, fraught with racial and economic differences, and unable to provide high-quality legal representation for impoverished capital punishment defendants that it can never be administered fairly. In neighbouring states – one with the death penalty and the other without it – the state that practices the death penalty does not always have a systematically lower rate of criminal homicides. For example, murder rates in Wisconsin and Iowa (states without the death penalty) ranged from l990 to l994 half those of their neighbor Illinois – which introduced the death penalty in l973 and sentenced 223 people to death and carried out two executions in 1994. Between 2000 and 2010, the murder rate in states with the death penalty was 25 to 46 per cent higher than in states without the death penalty. One of the main justifications for retaining the death penalty is that it can prevent people from committing crimes so as not to risk being sentenced to death. Some people who believe in the concept of retaliation are against the death penalty because they feel that the death penalty does not provide sufficient retaliation. They argue that life imprisonment without the possibility of parole inflicts much more suffering on the author than painless death after a short period of imprisonment. Most people will not want to challenge Articles 1 and 2, so this structure has the advantage of drawing attention to the real point of contention – the usefulness of non-death sentences in cases of murder. Second, proponents of the death penalty argue that society should support practices that ensure the greatest balance between good and evil, and the death penalty is such a practice. The death penalty benefits society because it can deter violent crime. While it is difficult to provide direct evidence of this claim, since those deterred by the death penalty do not commit murder by definition, common sense tells us that if people know they will die if they commit a certain act, they will not be willing to commit that act. Many countries that use the death penalty have now introduced lethal injection because it is less cruel to the perpetrator and less brutal to the perpetrator.

“The electrode of the left leg has been attached. Mr. Evans received a second thirty-second surge. The stench of burnt meat was disgusting. More smoke poured out of his leg and head. Again, the doctors examined Mr. Evans. [They] reported that his heart was still beating and he was still alive. At the time, I asked the commissioner of the prison, who was communicating with Governor George Wallace through an open telephone line, to grant pardons because Mr.

Evans was being cruelly and exceptionally punished. The request . was rejected. One way to solve the problem is to see if states that do not use the death penalty have been able to find alternative penalties that allow the state to punish murderers in a way that maintains an orderly and satisfied society. If such states exist, then the death penalty is not necessary and should be abolished as excessively harmful. The overwhelming preponderance of evidence shows that the death penalty is no more effective in deterring murder than incarceration, and that it can even be incitement to criminal violence. States applying the death penalty as a group do not have lower murder rates than States without the death penalty. The use of the death penalty in a given state may actually increase the subsequent rate of criminal homicide. What for? Perhaps because “the return to the use of the death penalty weakens socially justified inhibitions against the use of lethal force to settle disputes. A U.S.

Supreme Court justice (who originally supported the death penalty) ultimately concluded that the death penalty should harm the cause of justice: witnesses (when they are part of the trial), prosecutors, and jurors can all make mistakes.