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The Argument Against The Death Penalty

Current U.S. Policy: The death penalty has been a contentious topic of discussion since the latter part of the 19th century. Nevertheless, considerable legal work towards abolishment was not done until the Furman v. Georgia decision in 1972. The Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty was unconstitutional in this instance. Because of the inconsistent application of the death penalty to some people and not others, the court ruled that the death penalty violated the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment (, 2012).

This case was viewed as a chance for the US to totally abolish the death sentence. Notwithstanding the fact that 35 states complied with the Supreme Court's ruling, public concern over surges in crime led to increased interest in new capital penalty policies. Since then, the federal government reinstated the death penalty in 1988, and numerous states have passed new capital punishment legislation or brought back old ones. Since 1988, a number of significant decisions have been decided, such as Roper v. Simmons, in which the Supreme Court declared that it was illegal to execute criminals who were under the age of eighteen at the time of the offence. The final significant capital case involved the death penalty was Roger v. Simmons. Currently, the death penalty is in effect in 24 states, three states have a governor's moratorium, and 23 states-including Washington, D.C.-have abolished the death sentence.

Claims of Discrimination: There have been allegations of discrimination in cases involving the death sentence and the capital punishment. Many will argue that white Americans support the death penalty far more than African Americans do. It is accurate to say that white individuals typically spend more time and funds devoted to maintaining the death penalty.

There is a significant racial disparity in support for the death sentence, with 65% of White people favouring the law compared to just 50% of African Americans, according to a Midwest Political Science Association research. Racial bias was found to be a significant predictor of white people's views on the death sentence. The national movement to abolish the death penalty is seriously hampered when white people become more intolerant and support it.

Not only is the death penalty a form of racial discrimination, but minorities are executed far more frequently than white people. This is because there is a larger problem with the judicial system overall that is not being effectively examined. It goes against the notion that the death penalty should be totally eliminated due of discrimination, even if it can be demonstrated to exist (Hockhammer, 1969).

Minorities would suffer some harm from abolition based only on prejudice since the root causes of the problem would remain unresolved. Minorities would therefore continue to be disproportionately more likely than White people to be mistakenly detained, tried, and convicted.

Cost of Capital Punishment: One reason in favour of abolition is the enormous time, financial, and resource expenses associated with it in comparison to non-death sentence cases. Both taxpayers and citizens suffer when money is spent on death row inmates and the execution penalty. A 2003 legislative audit in Kansas discovered that the expenses associated with a capital case are 70% greater than those of a non-capital punishment case.

Furthermore, "Death penalty trials in Tennessee cost 48% more than average trials where prosecutors seek life in prison" and "Death penalty cases in Maryland cost $3 million for a single case, three times more than non-death penalty cases." Not only is it terrible for the legal system, but this money spent on the chase of death. The death penalty detracts financial resources from effective crime-control strategies.

Alternatively, this money might be used for drug treatment programmes, education and rehabilitation, mental health services, meaningful victim assistance, and prevention of crime. Legal fees and incarceration rates shouldn't be nearly as excessive as they are at the moment. Death row offenders are imprisoned for extended periods of time in high security facilities, which are far more costly than state prisons. According to a Pew Study, "of the 44 states evaluated, median spending was 49%, with growth of 90% occurring in 10 states." This is directly linked to the rise in the average length of time spent behind bars in the state of California-20 years.

Innocence and Wrongful Convictions: At least 187 persons who were wrongfully condemned and given the death penalty in the United States since 1973 have been cleared, according to the Death Penalty Information Centre (Death Penalty Information Centre, 2021). Many find it troubling that such a large number of people were scheduled for execution and wonder how it could have occurred. The use of DNA testing and forensics in erroneous convictions is one of the key concerns.

Over 156 exonerees' cases were thoroughly examined in research published in the Virginia Law Review. They discovered that there was faulty forensic science testimony-which broadly fell into two categories-in many of these cases. (1) the improper use of demographic data from empirical studies; and (2) conclusions about the probative value of evidence that lacked scientific foundation. The issue of faulty forensic testimony has not been resolved by DNA technology, and it is rarely used when it is necessary.

DNA analysis is requested by law enforcement in just 2% of their requests to crime laboratories. Additionally, erroneous results presentation is not immune to DNA analysis. Furthermore, it is quite concerning because retesting or re-examination of the underlying forensic evidence-which was refused in many of the cases involving the exonerees-is the only way to determine the incidence of incorrect use or mischaracterization of the underlying data.

This is a pervasive, fundamental issue with the legal system. It's also crucial to note that, because courts frequently refuse to finance defence specialists, defence attorneys in these cases seldom ever retained experts and hardly ever cross-examined analysts on false testimony (Garrett and Neufeld, 2009). In order to keep locking up more individuals, the American legal system and those who prosecute criminals aggressively oppose DNA analysis and grossly disregard its application.

Methods and Implications
The ethical ramifications of the death penalty make research on the subject challenging. High-profile academic researchers as well as nongovernmental and intergovernmental organisations provided data for this project's research. This project aims to present the world community's role in the death penalty, the policy implications of past and present, and a comprehensive analysis of how issues such as prejudice, erroneous convictions, and other issues support the case for its abolition. For this project, reliable and accurate sources were employed at every stage.

International Implications: The international community's position has a significant impact on American policy and perceptions of the death sentence. Many nations around the world abolished the death sentence at the close of the 20th century. Two factors are responsible for this trend: "forming a new human right in the individual's catalogue and embodying a shift in states' violent punishment of their criminals" (Mathias, 2013). Numerous global nonprofit organisations, like as Amnesty International, support the campaign against the death sentence and, in doing so, integrate it into the institutional framework of other nations.

This act aimed to completely abolish the death penalty throughout all participating states. The European Union declared in 2000 that the Charter of Fundamental Rights should be applied as a preventative measure against human rights breaches affecting residents of member nations. The engagement of international organisations in the proposal and establishment of human rights treaties, covenants, and other policy measures is what drives the case for abolition. Amnesty International was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977 for its work resolving human rights concerns related to the death penalty.

With this prize, the international community honoured the organization's efforts to combat political imprisonment and the death penalty, marking a significant global cultural moment. The United States is one of the only democracies that still upholds the death penalty, along with only two other democracies worldwide (South Korea and Japan). In the past, the US has disregarded international norms and principles pertaining to the death sentence.

One of the world's most renowned democracies, the United States is highly regarded for the way it upholds and advances human rights. But they don't aggressively seek its abolition or utilise their extraordinary standing on the international scene to condemn the death penalty. Although the adoption of a global standard for the death penalty does not always mean that nation-states would follow suit, their initiatives have encouraged Americans to support the repeal of the death sentence.

Wrongs of Deterrence Theory: "Criminal penalties do not just punish violators, but also discourage other people from committing similar offences," according to the deterrence theory in criminology as stated by the Minnesota State Assembly (Johnson, 2019). Retentionists and proponents of the death penalty contend that knowing that there is a chance of execution deters others from committing crimes. While some persons may be deterred from committing crimes that might otherwise warrant the death penalty, it is just untrue that it functions perfectly-more than a thousand individuals are presently awaiting execution on death row. Research on the deterrence effect demonstrate that the death penalty would, at the very least, significantly lower the number of murders committed.

But there are problems with these studies: "One significant shortcoming in all the previous research is that none of them identify the non-capital punishment elements of the sanction regime for the punishment of homicide." The use of faulty or unrealistic models of how prospective killers understand and react to the death penalty as a sanction is another serious shortcoming. It is impossible to make reliable conclusions regarding how the death sentence affects homicide without this information. On the other hand, abolitionists think that some people may conduct horrible crimes in order to fulfil their wish to end their lives.

The reasons and desires behind murders are often greatly influenced by mental illness, and some persons may be unable to resist their need to kill or commit suicide, either consciously or subliminally. Furthermore, opponents of the death penalty will contend that more serious crimes will be committed because people who have previously committed acts deserving of the death sentence will carry on with their crimes knowing that they may end up dead (Hockhammer, Jr., 1969).

There is broad agreement among academics and researchers who have examined deterrence effects that the studies supporting deterrence effects are essentially incorrect. "88% of former and current presidents of the nation's top academic criminological societies reject that the death penalty deters murder," according to the Death sentence Information Centre (Death Penalty Information Centre, 2021). It is clear from this that the death sentence is ineffective at deterring criminal activity because the deterrence argument is faulty.

The death penalty must be completely abolished in order to resolve the problems it causes. In order to support my position, I analysed a number of primary and secondary sources, including academic journals, research initiatives, and other works by highly accomplished academics. The problems with the death penalty are deeply ingrained in the American legal system and are a result of its dysfunction. To reform this nation's death sentence legislation, a comprehensive overhaul of the system is required.

These laws disproportionately harm African Americans, and as I mentioned earlier, one of the main concerns about the ethics of the death sentence is discrimination. Without a doubt, conservative America and the favourable opinion that white Americans have of the death penalty legislation are the root causes of this discrimination. An other significant problem that the death penalty exacerbates is the amount of money and resources required to carry out court cases and prisoner executions. The death penalty costs the United States a significant and needless amount of money. Instead, those funds may be put to use trying to eliminate the fundamental problems with the justice system.

There have been significant attempts to outlaw the death sentence, such as in the Roger v. Simmons and Furman v. Georgia trials, but the procedure is challenging and time-consuming. The death penalty is still legal in 24 states, has been repealed in 23 states, and is on hold in 3 states. The United States has had essentially the same policy for a long time. The United States has the chance to end the death penalty and stop being one of the three democracies in the world that still maintains its use. As of 2016, 140 countries had done away with the death penalty for all crimes; seven more had done away with the death penalty for "ordinary crimes," and thirty more had not carried out an execution in the previous ten years.

Without a question, the United States is headed towards abolition more successfully than it has ever been. From 300 death sentences in the mid-1900s to lows of 85 or fewer in the mid-1990s, and a 40-year low of 30 death sentences in 2016, there has been a decline in the number of executions. Abolitionists may view this trend as a victory since it indicates that the US is moving in the right path to abolish the death penalty. Change must be made while there is still momentum in favour of abolition since support for the death penalty is steadily declining. We can legitimately influence American laws and positions about the death sentence, whether through lobbying legislators, education, or advocacy.

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