Killing Is Never Justified
Capital punishment, by definition, is the legal killing of an individual. Now, how someone could be killed legally when murder is universally recognized as a violent and serious crime. It is irrevocable, meaning that once an inhabitant of death row pays the ultimate price. The death penalty is corporal punishment in its most severe form and is considered to be the ultimate form of retribution for those who have committed society's most heinous crimes, including rape and murder. Ultimately, Capital punishment is wrong due to the likelihood of error, the unjust racial allocation, and the violation of constitutional rights. However, many people believe that capital ...view middle of the document...
Subsequently, according to the Atlanta Weekly newspaper,
In Georgia in 1975, Earl Charles was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. A surviving victim of the crime erroneously identified Charles as the gunman; her testimony was supported by a jail-house informant who claimed he heard Charles confess. Incontrovertible alibi evidence, showing that Charles was in Florida at the very time of the crime, eventually establishes his innocence–but not until he had spent more than three years under his death sentence. His release owed largely to his mother’s unflagging efforts (Atlanta Weekly, May 30, 1982).
This man served three years under death row before his innocence was proved and he could become a normal citizen once again. Three years of his life has been wasted due to the fact that he had been framed. Deciding to execute him just one day short of three years, then the court would have put Earl Charles to death for a crime in which he did not commit.
Secondly, capital punishment is inflicted disproportionately on the poor and minority groups. Fifty years ago, Nobel Prize winner, Gunnar Myrdal, reported that, “the South makes the widest application of the death penalty, and Negro criminals come in much more than their share of executions.” Confirmation of these statistics is not just relative to the South, either. “Between 1930 and 1990, 4,016 persons were executed in the United States. Of these, 2,129 (or 53 percent) were black. During these years African-Americans were about twelve percent of the nation’s population” (Bedau 6). According to author D.J. Herda, Racial discrimination was on the grounds of which the Supreme Court relied in Furman vs. Georgia ruling the death penalty unconstitutional. Death row has always been disproportionately black in population in its history in relation to its population percentage. At the time Furman was convicted of murder, about six-hundred inmate’s addresses read Death Row. Of those convicted inmates, several were teenagers, over twenty were women, and a disproportionate many were black. Amidst this discrimination and injustice, no one had ever before confronted this issue on the grounds of injustice towards the poor and oppressed of the nation (Herda 13).
Undoubtedly, the choices of human lives are left to the discretion of imperfect human beings.
The history of capital punishment in American society clearly shows the desire to mitigate the harshness of this penalty by narrowing its scope. Discretion, whether authorized by statues or by their silence, has been the main vehicle to this end. But when discretion is used, as it has always been, to mark for death the poor, the friendless, the uneducated, the members of racial minorities, and the despised, then discretion becomes injustice. (Bedau 7).
Human nature uses temptation to attract the condemnation of people who are considered unclean. Chances are that a rich white man with a family and children at home is not going to be convicted, while a...