Dr. Susannah Chewning
13 December 2013
The Death Penalty: An Exaggerated Punishment
Furman v. Jackson, a case ruled in the State of Georgia in 1972 really aroused concerns regarding the death penalty. Technically, William Henry Furman was found guilty of murder which was supposed to attract a death sentence. However, his death sentence was said to be “arbitrarily and capriciously “applied and therefore regarded a contradiction to the eighth amendment that prohibits excessive bails and fines as well as cruel and unusual punishment. In effect, this argument hindered the death penalty law of forty states and the federal death penalty decrees and altered ...view middle of the document...
In a general perspective, the interpreters of the law and the supporting society of this form of capital punishment may see the death penalty as a mere way of eliminating some rogue who committed a disgusting murder. However, Radelet reinstates the question under the auspices of the sociological imagination that inquires the conscience of the nation as human beings? Again, he questions the integrity of the people involved in the whole death penalty execution process by asking who they really are as human beings. He goes on conclude that the view of the death penalty as a just way of punishment that is the good (lawful citizens) vs. bad (criminals) rather dehumanizes us all (“Humanizing the Death Penalty”). In a nutshell, the death penalty sentence elicits sadists (legislature and executioners) who in turn instill fear and emotional distress in the “innocent society” which does not put into effect the will of the Constitution of the United States.
Aside the fact that the death penalty contradicts the right of liberty, it ultimately infringes upon the right to life. The international global movement, Amnesty International states that “the death penalty violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights” (“Abolish the Death Penalty”). The Universal Declaration of Human rights was created subsequently after, the Second World War by the UN General Assembly and was endorsed by world leaders to protect the fundamental rights of individuals around the world(“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights). If life was not so precious, the United Nations would not have included the right to life in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the first place. The Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Penalty States also states that “We don’t cut off the hands of thieves to protect property; we do not stone adulterers to stop adultery. We consider that barbaric. Yet we continue to take life as a means of protecting life.” Directly speaking, the Illinois movement implies that the government does not have the right to render human life worthy or not even though, the person committed wrong. A murderer must be punished in such a way that he will learn from his faults which will in turn teach the society that “to err is human and to forgive is divine”. The death penalty here does not serve as a good deterrent to serious crime but rather rubs off a sense of government hypocrisy which undermines the word “deterrent.”
Furthermore, Michael Ross, an inmate on death row from prison in Somers, Connecticut, wrote an article telling the story people who were found innocent after they had been sentenced to the death penalty. He declared the “beyond reasonable doubt” technique that the United States courts utilize to prove the innocence of accused persons is not reliable; to support, he quoted the statement of a late Supreme Court Justice Marshal “No matter how careful courts are, the possibility of perjured testimony, mistaken honest...