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The Death Penalty: A Necessary Second Evil

Categories Death, Death penalty

Essay, Pages 8 (1841 words)

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Essay, Pages 8 (1841 words)

I am not generally in favor of taking a human life; however, some criminal acts deserve the Death Sentence be leveled at the involved criminals. Obviously, those who are already in favor of the Death Penalty and those who are absolutely opposed to the Death Penalty need not be addressed in my paper as neither side is going to care what I have to say. This leaves me with a target audience consisting of individuals who haven’t decided where they stand on the Death Penalty, and those whose opinions differ from mine in terms of the times a life-ending sentence should be carried out.

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The views and values I anticipate my target audience will have include an open-mind when it comes to capital punishment as well as a strong sense that justice be carried out for the good of society. I intend to accommodate my target audience by showing that the use of capital punishment be reserved for only the most egregious of crimes and when no doubt of guilt exists.

My purpose in evaluating the Death Penalty is because I believe in its necessity; however, I also believe there are changes that need to be made to the way capital punishment is sentenced and carried out.

Ultimately, I want my audience to see the Death Penalty as a necessary evil to help ensure the strength and safety of our country. The value judgment I am making (and the one I will ask my audience to make) is that under some circumstances, taking the life of a convicted criminal is justified.

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My primary reason for supporting this position is that I believe the Death Penalty is a necessary evil that serves the overall good of society. My primary appeals will be based in logic; although, there is little doubt that the issue of taking a life will draw upon the emotions of everyone involved.

I anticipate gaining the trust of my audience by making clear that I do not propose this position lightly. The major counter-argument stems from the value of human life: if I value the life of a victim, how can I justify ending the life of the suspect? Additionally, opponents argue that once the victim’s life is lost, putting the suspect to death will not bring that victim back; therefore, they question whether or not justice is being served and whether or not the Death Penalty is a deterrent to violent crimes. To counter these arguments, I intend to show that while relevant, each of these positions is outweighed by justice being served.

The Death Penalty: A Necessary Second Evil ROUGH DRAFT Imagine yourself in this situation: you are driving home from work, and suddenly, one of you car’s tires blows out. You pull over to change the tire, and while you are working, a man looking for money to buy drugs points a gun at you: you are being robbed. This is what police believe happened to Ennis Cosby, a young man who was murdered while changing his flat tire. [Cite CNN http://www. cnn. com/US/9806/16/cosby. son. trial. advancer/index. html] Most Americans drive, and many Americans can imagine themselves in the position Mr. Cosby faced: having to change a flat tire. Dying on the side of a dark roadway at the hands of a drug-user looking for more money is an unforgivable crime: not only has the victim’s life been unlawfully taken, but also, the crime exposes all law-abiding citizens to the possibility of what might happen to them. Criminals who take lives and add to the overall feeling of the world being a dangerous place should be sentenced to death; although, human life is a precious thing and taking the suspect’s life will not bring back the victim, it is a necessary evil to ensure the overall peace of mind of America’s citizens.

A decent human being is not going to want to take the life of another person, and this points to two important issues: first, a murderer isn’t a decent human being; and second, the average American is going to balk at being involved in the death of another person. The latter issue is the reason the parameters of capital punishment need to be revisited: we need to ensure that this ultimate punishment is reserved for the most egregious of crimes when no doubt of guilt remains.

There is no going back once a death sentence is carried out, so there must be no doubt of the suspect’s guilt when capital punishment is meted out, and legal loopholes and positioning cannot factor into this decision. Often, eyewitness accounts are a major factor in determining the guilt or innocence of a suspect; however, “numerous psychological studies have shown that human beings are not very good at identifying people they saw only once for a relatively short period of time. The studies reveal error rates of as high as fifty percent — a frightening statistic given that many convictions may be based largely or solely on such testimony.

These studies show further that the ability to identify a stranger is diminished by stress (and what crime situation is not intensely stressful? ), that cross-racial identifications are especially unreliable, and that contrary to what one might think, those witnesses who claim to be “certain” of their identifications are no better at it than everyone else, just more confident” (CITE Dorf). Technology has provided one of the best means to ensure the guilt of a suspect: DNA testing.

Unfortunately, this technological advance isn’t being used to its full potential: “Among the reforms being sought are enforceable standards for defense counsel in death penalty trials and assured DNA testing for death row inmates who challenge their convictions” (CITE Jost 2001). No one can sit back and ignore the gravity of capital punishment, so all available means to assure the guilt or innocence of those sentenced to death (whether in prison or on trial) must be used. DNA testing is a reliable means of proving a suspect’s guilt and/or innocence.

Admissions of guilt and DNA tests should be the deciding factors when a suspect’s life is on the line. Eyewitness accounts should not be used to determine the guilt or innocence of a suspect whose life is on the line. When all is said and done, the sentence needs to be carried out in a timely manner: Capital cases should be subject to one complete and fair course of collateral review in the State and Federal system, free from the time pressure of impending execution, and with the assistance of competent counsel for the defendant. When this review has concluded, litigation should end (CITE FAS. rg http://www. fas. org/irp/congress/1990_cr/s900522-spy. htm). Each of these issues will ensure a greater degree of safety in American society while ensuring fewer criminals are set free. The Death Penalty: A Necessary Evil FINAL DRAFT Imagine you are driving home from work, and one of your car’s tires blows out. You pull over, and while changing the tire, a man shoves a gun in your face: you are being robbed. This is what police believe happened to Ennis Cosby as he changed a flat tire: he was robbed and murdered by an addict in search of drug money (LaMotte, 1998).

Most Americans drive and can imagine themselves in the position Mr. Cosby faced: changing a flat tire. Murder is an unforgivable crime, but the crime itself is only part of the issue. Not only has the victim’s life been stolen, but also, violent acts like these expose law-abiding citizens to the unreasonable fear of what could happen to them. Although human life is a precious thing, and taking a suspect’s life will not bring a victim back, the Death Penalty is a necessary evil to ensure the overall peace of mind of America’s citizens: criminals who kill and create fear in the daily lives of others should be sentenced to death.

A decent human being is not going to want to take the life of another person, and this points to two important issues: first, a murderer isn’t a decent human being; and second, the average American is going to balk at being involved in the death of another person. The latter issue is the reason the parameters of capital punishment need to be revisited: we need to ensure that this ultimate punishment is reserved for the most egregious of crimes when no doubt of guilt remains. There is no going back once a death sentence is carried out, so there must be no doubt of he suspect’s guilt when capital punishment is meted out, and legal loopholes and positioning cannot factor into this decision. Often, eyewitness accounts are a major factor in determining the guilt or innocence of a suspect; however, “numerous psychological studies have shown that human beings are not very good at identifying [strangers. . . ] and reveal error rates of as high as fifty percent [. . . and . . . ] show further that the ability to identify a stranger is diminished by [the] stress [. . . of a] crime situation” (Dorf, 2001). Technology has provided one of the best means to ensure the guilt of a suspect: DNA testing.

Unfortunately, this technological advance isn’t being used to its full potential: “Among the [capital punishment] reforms being sought are [. . . ] assured DNA testing for death row inmates who challenge their convictions” (Jost, 2001). The Death Penalty cannot be taken lightly, so all means to prove the guilt or innocence of those sentenced to death (whether in prison or on trial) must be used. Replacing fear of criminals with fear of the justice system is unacceptable. Admissions of guilt and DNA tests should be the deciding factors when a suspect’s life is on the line. Absent these things, alternative sentencing (e. . life without the possibility of parole) should be the maximum possible sentence. There is no reason to take the life of a suspect if any doubt remains: it serves no purpose. Conversely, suspects who are found guilty of capital crimes should be executed swiftly to help right the overall feelings of fear these acts place into the minds of law-abiding citizens. When a suspect is found guilty of a Death Penalty offense, the sentence needs to be carried out in a timely manner: Capital cases should be subject to one complete and fair course of collateral review in the State and Federal system, free from the time pressure of mpending execution, and with the assistance of competent counsel for the defendant. When this review has concluded, litigation should end. (Coats, 1990) Taking a life—even the life of a convicted felon—is a grave matter, and as a society, America needs to ensure that the Death Penalty is carried out only when the suspect’s guilt is proven absolutely. While it is true that the execution of a criminal will do nothing to return the dead victim, it is a necessary evil to help law-abiding citizens feel safer, and to ensure that the greatest possible justice is served.

Cite this essay

The Death Penalty: A Necessary Second Evil. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/death-penalty-necessary-second-evil-new-essay

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