Retarded People Shouldn't Get The Death Penalty

1496 words - 6 pages

In the United States there are about 3,700 people on death row. There are some arguments about how many are mentally retarded, but the number is estimated at about one-fourth to one-third (www.aclu.org/DeathPenalty/... 1). Being mentally retarded does not mean being insane or having brain damage. Mental retardation is a lifelong condition of impaired or incomplete mental development. Mentally retarded people have an IQ below 70 while an average person has an IQ of 100. These people are like small children in the body of an adult, and the legal system executes them for crimes that they can't comprehend. This is cruel and unusual punishment and violates the Eighth Amendment to the ...view middle of the document...

Yet juries and judges have given the death penalty to many people who have no idea what is going on around them. John Paul Penry had been convicted of murder and had his appeal brought to the Supreme Court. In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court ruled that the jury had not been allowed to fully consider his mental impairments and concluded that there was insignificant evidence that the national "standard of decency" had evolved far enough to reject such executions (Catania 1). Penry was abused as a child, had organic brain damage, and believed in Santa Clause as an adult. When he was twenty-two he was charged with raping and murdering Pamela Carpenter in Texas and at that time he had the mental capacity of a seven year old and he still did after many years in jail and at the time of the appeal (Fellner 2).Many prosecutors believe that the mental capabilities of the retarded vary and that they have the intelligence to plan and carry out a murder (Polston 1). Some may be more slowwitted than others, but all are lacking in understanding. They can frequently know the difference between right and wrong, but often cannot understand and process the information, communicate, and learn from their experiences. The supporters of the death penalty for the mentally retarded claim it takes a high degree of mental retardation before that person reaches the point where they are not aware of the consequences of their actions (Polston 1). A person with an IQ of 60 may have no idea of consequences, and that an IQ of 60 is not a high degree of mentally retardation. Such a person is not extremely retarded, but they can be unaware of the consequences for their actions.Defenders of the death penalty think that being stupid should not excuse one from a penalty for what they did (Wilson 1). The reason is that many dimwitted persons may not be able to participate in their own defense. They may be suggestible, ready to agree to a police officer's misleading claim they broke the law, or be unable to tell their attorney what they need to know in order to represent themselves effectively. Eddie Mitchell. a retarded man on death row in Louisiana, waived all his rights during his interrogation. But when an attorney asked him if he had understood what "waiving his rights" meant, Mitchell raised his right hand and waved (hrw.org/reports... 2). Many cases happen like Mitchell's, where a prosecutor or police officer can convince a retarded person that they have committed a crime and suddenly they have the guilty person they need.Most of the American population favor the death penalty, but about 70 percent don't support killing mentally retarded people (Catania 2). An increasing number of states recognized that the execution of the mentally retarded is incompatible with the standards of a civilized society regardless of what procedures are used (www.aclu.org/DeathPenalty... 1). In 1989, the Supreme Court in the Penry appeal ruled that such executions may be unacceptable, but could not...

Other Essays Like Retarded People Shouldn't Get The Death Penalty

abolishing the death penalty Essay

2858 words - 12 pages as it should be is T.V. I know it’s only T.V. but that’s what people see and a lot of people believe that is the way it is. Whether or not T.V. is how it is or not, most people don’t really know. Many of the Law programs could be influencing people with the idea that all a person needs to do is basically tell the truth to get the Death Penalty thrown out of the negotiation process or interrogation. Basically, if you murder someone and

The Death Penalty Essay

2210 words - 9 pages to get him to confess. This was not too long ago that this took place; we have evolved so much since then, but we have not grown out of capital punishment. Therefore we are no better than these people who electrocuted this small boy, we just have bigger guns. The south is known as the Bible Belt of the United States. You might think that is kind of strange that this part of the United States has been the main user of the death penalty. The

The Death Penalty

2028 words - 9 pages (Sangiorgio, 2011). Though the support for abolishing the death penalty rises, in our country, Americans steadily favor it. Even though many Americans are for capital punishment not many of them know the realities of a person sentenced to death row. “Innocent people have been sentenced to die based on such things as mistaken eyewitness identifications, false confessions, the testimony of partisan experts who render opinions that are not supported by

The Death Penalty

1059 words - 5 pages The Death Penalty The death penalty has always been and continues to be a very controversial issue. The death penalty has declined throughout the industrial Western since the 19th century, and nearly every European nation has either formally abolished the death penalty for civil crimes or has abandoned it in practice. People on both sides of the issue argue endlessly to gain further support for their movements. Opponents of capital punishment

The Death Penalty - 719 words

719 words - 3 pages death penalty constitutes cruel and unusual punishment and should be replaced by life in prison. The following reasons prove that the death penalty harms rather than helps any quest for a just, humane society. The Bible requires the death penalty for a wide variety of crimes, including sex before marriage, adultery, and homosexual behavior, doing work on Saturday and murder. Somehow people became more tolerant; they eliminated the death

Juveniles And The Death Penalty

2094 words - 9 pages 1982, the sentencing in the trial of Roach v. Martin, which involved a mentally retarded seventeen year old defendant, was the death penalty. In the trial of Thompson v. Oklahoma, fifteen year old Thompson had his sentence reversed after claiming cruel and unusual punishment with emphasis on the 8th Amendment, While in the case of Prejean v. Blackburn in 1984, a seventeen year old was given the death penalty and put to death for the same crime

Is the Death Penalty Needed

590 words - 3 pages Kevin Paris 10 September 2013 The death penalty was used as the ultimate punishment in the American courts, but is it necessary now? The death sentence is used when the offender killed another person with undisputed evidence. The death penalty was used more often during the early years of the United States as a way to scare others into not taking anothers life. Even with all the modern technology we have today the death penalty is

The Death Penalty Is Not the Answer

2350 words - 10 pages Texas is 5.6% (per 100,000 People) on the other hand, there is Hawaii that has no death penalty and its murder rate is 1.9%. This is proof that the death penalty is not a deterrent as so many claims (, 2010). Many who supported the death penalty have changed their minds and have made profound statements against this form of punishment. Among the most profound words against the death penalty are those of Justice Harry Blackmun a member of the highest

The Death Penalty: Justice, Safety, and Deterrence

915 words - 4 pages open will put the public in danger, no matter how much they are willing to change. That is to say, the death penalty will provide citizens with safety. Lastly, the death penalty offers deterrence. The death penalty is a deterrent because it shows future criminals what kind of consequences they will get if they commit a crime. In charts that show deterrence from 1950 to 2002, there has been a decline in the average homicide rate. With more

The Death Penalty Should Be Re-Introduced

963 words - 4 pages The Death Penalty Should be Re-introduced in South Africa The death penalty should be abolished says the humanist; The death penalty shouldn't be abolished says the community. Well the death penalty is a controversial topic, and it is difficult to have it and also difficult to not have it. What is Capital punishment?  Capital punishment is the death penalty.  It is used today and was used in ancient times to punish a variety of offenses. Even

The Death Penalty Is an Acceptable Punishment

743 words - 3 pages crimes that it is allocated. When society believes that the death penalty is not a justifiable punishment it will let its lawmakers know and the death penalty will then no longer exist. I believe that the death penalty is an acceptable punishment for severe crimes and I believe that society shares this point of view or it would eliminate the death penalty. 1) The laws of a country are representative of its people beliefs. 2) Congressmen pass

Related Papers

Mentally Retarded Criminals Should Face The Death Penalty

2485 words - 10 pages retarded from the death penalty could have in other areas of the law. Advocates for the mentally retarded contend that people with mental retardation cannot be held accountable for crimes to the extent that the death penalty would be an appropriate punishment. They say that because the mentally retarded confess to crimes they did not commit that innocent people are sentenced to death (Edwards and Keyes). While this may be true in some cases, the

The Death Penalty: Is The Death Penalty Effective? Is It Necessary? Elaborate On How It Affects Society And The Fact That Innocent People Can Be Unfairly Executed

1679 words - 7 pages evident part of society, and everyone is aware that something must be done about it. Most people know the threat of crime to their lives, but the question lies in the methods and action in which it should be dealt with. In several parts of the world, the death penalty has been apportioned to those who have committed a variety of offenses from the time of ancient Babylon to present-day America. The Roman Empire made use of the death penalty

Death To The Death Penalty Essay

1008 words - 5 pages penalty does not deter murderers, it makes more. It does not vindicate victims, it creates them. The death penalty is an unnecessary and dangerous tool that modern society should be without. Some people will claim that the death penalty actually saves innocent lives by deterring would-be murderers from committing murder. Common sense, reason, and research prove that claim to be false. Writers, Donnahue and Wolfers, in their article, “Death

The Death Penalty Essay 1673 Words

1673 words - 7 pages power or authority to be deprived of such. They claim allegiance to Christ and oppose the death penalty on the terms that God forbids killing as written in the words of the Ten Commandments “Thou Shall Not Kill.” Hence, since God gives life, only He should be capable of taking it. Majority of people are taught about sanctity of life so it is absolutely wrong for the government to come in and do something contrary to these teachings. Respect for