Ethics and Capital Punishment

As of April 2012, Connecticut became the 17th US state to rid capital punishment from its legal system. For those of you that are unaware, capital punishment is a legal procedure in which a person guilty of a crime is punished by death. Today, this procedure is carried out by a lethal injection, usually containing a potassium solution. In earlier years, these executions were carried out by hanging as well as the electric chair. 

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The inclusion of capital punishment in legal systems has been a recent touchy subject. 33 current US states still utilize the death penalty within their legal systems. 17 do not. Speaking in a worldwide sense, 98 independent states (51%) of the United Nations have completely abolished the death sentence, and 40 independent states (21%) of the United Nations still practice capital punishment.

The last person to be executed by lethal injection in Connecticut was Michael Ross, nicknamed the “Roadside Strangler”. Ross was put to death in 2005. Ross’s punishment was resultant of raping and murdering eight women in the eighties. Ross volunteered for the execution, not wanting to live any longer.

 

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My personal position on capital punishment is as follows: It can only be utilized in specific occasions. Sufficient and proper evidence needs to be provided in order to place someone on death row. Proper evidence needs to be presented in order to place someone on death row. 129 people in 26 different states have been freed from death row because of proper evidence pointing to their innocence. Also, though some may disagree, keeping a convict on death row is much more expensive than giving them life imprisonment. Finally, on a personal level, I believe that our nation needs to escape this “eye for an eye” mentality. If we want to advance as a nation, we cannot constantly seek revenge. I believe, however, that certain heinous crimes should be punishable by death. For example, the culprits of the Cheshire home invasion that took place in Cheshire, CT in 2007. The two individuals, charged for raping, robbing, and killing three women while beating the father in the same family are currently on death row, and rightfully so. Savage crimes like those need to be punishable by death.

Some strongly oppose capital punishment, including the 2001 British President of the Parliamentary Assembly of Europe, Lord Russell-Johnston, stating that, “The death penalty is wrong. It is inhuman. It is degrading. It is an atavist relict of a pre-civilized past in which justice was dispensed with a sword, to avenge, never to prevent. To kill, not to heal. The death penalty does not deter violence. It perpetuates it. It does not do justice, it denies it. The death penalty violates human rights, in a ruthless, absolute and irreversible manner.”

Others support capital punishment. Current US President Barrack Obama states, “While the evidence tells me that the death penalty does little to deter crime, I believe there are some crimes–mass murder, the rape and murder of a child so heinous that the community is justified in expressing the full measure of its outrage by meting out the ultimate punishment. On the other hand, the way capital cases were tried in Illinois at the time was so rife with error, questionable police tactics, racial bias, and shoddy lawyering, that 13 death row inmates had been exonerated.” 

I’d like to know what your position on capital punishment is. Right or wrong? Right or wrong in certain cases? Take a position and let me know.

 

What Happens on Execution Day:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1htDY230jx4

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1 Comment

  1. OK…there goes my “G” rating on this blog…very disturbing, but an interesting take on death. Death as punishment. You can install a poll on this blog.

    Reply

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