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The death penalty is a cruel and inhumane punishment given to people regardless if they are innocent or guilty, Most cases of the death penalty are rushed solutions to “Close” a case. The government thinks if someone takes the blame for it the case is closed. They’re plenty of examples of people being put to death with no substantial evidence or reason to believe that they were even the ones who did the crime, for instance David Wayne Spence was put to death in 1997 for allegedly killing 3 teenage girls in Texas.
He was allegedly hired by a convenience store clerk to kill someone, but killed the wrong person. The supervising police lieutenant and The lead homicide detective both agreed that they believed he was innocent. The supervising police lieutenant even went on to say “I do not think David Spence committed this crime”. Which then the lead homicide detective responded with “My opinion is that David Spence was innocent. Nothing from the investigation ever led us to any evidence that he was involved.
In America the death penalty is used horribly wrong. We use the death penalty for crimes that might be worthy of the death penalty instead of crimes like human trafficking, rape, phodophilea, or child molestation. You need to understand that these crimes are way worse than half of the things we use the death penalty for in America. In this paper we talk about why the way the death penalty is used in America is morarly wrong.
This paper is important because if we shine enough light onto the matter we can make a change to how we use the death penalty.
The death penalty should be abolished because in my system of beliefs and morals the use of it is improper. I dont believe the way America deals with the Death penalty is very amicable because America only sentences people for treason, espionage, murder, large-scale drug trafficking, or attempted murder of a witness, juror, or court officer in certain cases. I feel America has wasted a lot of innocent peoples time and lives over a bunch of allegations, since the very beginning the death penalty it has been flawed to kill innocent people. From 1870’s and 1960’s a large amount of black on white victim allegations never saw the light of a courtroom. The Tuskegee Institute Archive says around about 3,500 lynching deaths of African Americans.This was just the beginning because throughout history many innocent people have been put to death with no substantial evidence against them, there are plenty of examples like the Scottsboro Boys. “A fight occurred between black and white boys on a freight train traveling through the town of Scottsboro, Alabama. The police rounded up all black boys riding on the train and ultimately arrested nine black boys, ranging in ages from 12 to 19 years old. Two white girls then came forward alleging that they were gang raped on the train.”. To no surprise “All nine defendants claimed innocence. After four separate one-day trials with all-white juries, eight of the nine were convicted and sentenced to death.”
The death penalty in the United States is used only for charges like treason, espionage, murder, large-scale drug trafficking, or attempted murder of a witness, juror, or court officer. This says nothing about Phedophiles, Child Molestors, Rapists or Human traffickers. There are plenty of cases from the death penalty that where proven innocent but still executed, such as Nathaniel Woods. Nathaniel Woods was a 43 year old black man when he was executed by the state of Alabama. Even though Alabama knew Nathaniel Woods was an innocent man they held him from June of 2004 till March 5th 2020 when he was wrongfully executed. Woods was in a crack house with his co-defendant Kerry Spencer sleeping when 4 police officers raided the house. Spencer heard the police coming so he opened fire, while Spencer was killing 3 police officers and injuring another Woods was running as if he was the one getting shot at. Woods had nothing to do with Spencer shooting those 4 police officers but he was blamed. Even Kerry Spencer said he shot and killed the police officers but the racist governor refused to listen, Gov Kay Ivey didn’t listen to anyone. She did not listen to Martin Luther King III, Bart Starr Jr. and Woods’ attorneys when they asked her to commute his sentence. With the only evidence of Woods was 2 .22 caliber bullets in his pocket he was sentenced to execution. The same Governor that refused to commute Woods’s charges is a known racists since her college days. When she participated in a skit of black face while she was a senior in college.
Now since we talked about Nathaniel Woods’s case we can talk about how the death penalty gives rise to vigilantism. One story of this that is even more recent than Nathaniel’s is the sad story of Ahmaud Arbery who was shot down by two white men while jogging. They racially profiled Arbery as a suspect in a string of robberies in their neighborhood, so they took it upon themselves to grab their shotguns and chase him down in their pickup truck. Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael murdered Arbery for simply jogging. They thought they were doing the right thing chasing him down and “stopping a robbery” instead of just calling the police they decided to attempt a citizen’s arrest on Arbery. On top of all this it took the Alabama Police office 2 months to convict them of murder. Most people are calling this a “Modern day lynching” but this just vigilantism. David Jacobs Ohio State University Stephanie L. Kent University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Jason T. Carmichael Ohio State University – Main Campus all agree that the death penalty replaced and sparks a rise of vigilantism. Many scholars have claimed that the current death penalty is a partial replacement for vigilantism used in the past to maintain this caste system.
Even in the courtroom to determine the death row sentence the government tries to limit the amount of black people on the jury. North Carolina didn’t include African-American citizens in jury pools in a meaningful way until the mid-20th century; prosecutors then often used peremptory challenges to eliminate black jurors, according to James E. Coleman, Jr., a professor at the Duke University School of Law. Then James even went on to say Taking black people off the jury lowers the standard of proof for the prosecutor, Coleman said, because white jurors will be more willing to accept any kind of evidence if the defendant is black.. There are plenty of stories about how they take 50% or more of the black people on the jury off the case or ask them inappropriate questions to make their job easier. Take the case of Quintel Augustine who was charged with shooting a police officer in 2001 a Cumberland County prosecutor dismissed every qualified black juror in the jury pool.. The prosecutor even wrote in his notes that the black people were “thugs” and “blk wino”, but when it came to a white juror with a DUI conviction he was “country boy- ok”. On Top of it all Augustine’s prosecutors had also attended a seminar that taught North Carolina district attorneys how to give race-neutral explanations for striking black jurors, and had a handout of accepted reasons like “hairstyle.”. It’s a proven fact that prosecutors across the state removed qualified black jurors at more than twice the rate of non-black jurors. Even Judge John Dickson said “implicit bias is a part of the legal system.”. It’s truly sad when “Over 90 percent of North Carolina’s 152 death row inmates filed Racial Justice Act challenges.Only four—all from Cumberland County—were heard by a judge in 2012. That judge initially granted relief to each of the four Cumberland County defendants, resentencing them to life imprisonment after ruling that race was an “overwhelming” factor in their death sentences. ” As The Marshall Project stated.
Most people when arguing about the death penalty like to bring up the fact that some major religions call for the death penalty to be used for certain crimes, Religions such as Islam, Southern Baptist Convention, and Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. As it says from the Quran “And We rained upon them a rain [of stones], and evil was the reign of those who were warned’”. Which is basically saying those who where given warnings and did the crime again got the death penalty. That being said not all religions agree with the death penalty, actually most religions dont agree. One particular religious leader named Pope Francis actually commented on the death penalty and he said “This conclusion is reached taking into account the new understanding of penal sanctions applied by the modern State, which should be oriented above all to the rehabilitation and social reintegration of the criminal. Finally, given that modern society possesses more efficient detention systems, the death penalty becomes unnecessary as protection for the life of innocent people.”. Pope Francis is trying to express that we have no need for the death penalty which is simply not true, he says we should be able to rehabilitate and social reintegrate the criminal which in some cases just can not happen. For example phedophilia can not be cured. As Harvard Health Publishing states “There is no cure, so the focus is on protecting children”. Phedophilia currently is not a crime that can give you the death penalty in America.
Do you know why we use the death penalty in America? Well most of you guys are probably saying because it lowers the crime rate or it gives the victims family closer, Which is wrong as ACLU states “there is no credible evidence that the death penalty deters crime more effectively than long terms of imprisonment. States that have death penalty laws do not have lower crime rates or murder rates than states without such laws. And states that have abolished capital punishment show no significant changes in either crime or murder rates.”. Then the Death Penalty Information Center goes on to say “Murder victims’ families hold a variety of views on the death penalty. Studies suggest the death penalty does not bring closure and interferes with their healing process. Now do you want to know the real reason we use the death penalty? We use the death penalty because our society believes the death penalty is the only way to deal with certain crimes such as treason, espionage, murder, large-scale drug trafficking, or attempted murder of a witness, juror, or court officer. Using the death penalty isnt morarly wrong abut its how we use it. Some of these are good reasons to call for the death penalty and in cases like murder most peoples morarls consist of the phrase “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” so if you murder someone it says in your morarls that they should be murdered to. Honestly the death penalty should only be used for rape and murder, random killings, and phetophiles and even in these cases it is hard for a society to kill these people with justification when we can just in-prison them and let them meet their own justice. Apparently most states agree with me because they have abolished the death penalty. Even though most states agree there are still states like Arkansas who executed four people on death row in the span of a week just so their expiring supply of lethal injection didn’t get wasted. Did you know “In January 2003, researchers at the University of Maryland concluded in a study commissioned by the Maryland Governor that defendants are much more likely to be sentenced to death if they have killed a white person.” as stated by ACLU.
Even though I morally dont agree with how we use the death penalty in America I respect the arguments supported by many, with that being said did you know that “Released sex offenders were three times as likely as other released prisoners to be re-arrested for a sex offense.” as Wendy Sawyer from Prison Policy Initiative states. Even with that being said we still use the death penalty to execute innocent people like Nathaniel Woods and David Wayne Spence, and we let these racist white men chase a innocent Ahmaud Arbery because the death penalty inspired them to be vigilantes, and we are letting these states sentence people to unfair sentences. When we get older and look back at these things we will realize the grave mistakes that we have witnessed and didn’t speak up about them.
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