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Death Penalty

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“Death Penalty” Furman was a poor black man living in Georgia when he broke into William Joseph Micke, Jr’s house, Mr. Micke went downstairs to investigate and saw William Furman in his house with a gun. Furman began to flee the house but tripped in the process and fired the gun accidently shooting Mr. Micke in the chest and killing him instantly. Furman was later found by the police still carrying the gun and arrested for murder. This case is known as Furman v. Georgia and was taken to the Supreme Court on the fact that the death penalty in Georgia violated the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. This is a landmark case because “The significance of Furman v. Georgia is that this case was the first case that was ruled violating the Eighth amendment and that it halted every man on death row in the United States” (study). But before the case reached the Supreme Court the case went on trial September 20, 1968 where Furman pleaded mentally ill and insane, the court rejected his plea and found him guilty of murder. Then, Furman appealed his conviction and sentence, based on the death penalty in Georgia violating the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution . The Eighth Amendment says the federal government may not use "cruel and unusual punishments” (Henson). The case was later tried in the Supreme Court January 17, 1972. The justices who won majority and reversed the case were William J. Brennan, Jr., William O. Douglas, Thurgood Marshall, Potter Stewart, Byron R. White, thus wining the final vote 5-4. The minority justices were Harry A. Blackmun, Warren E. Burger, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., William H. Rehnquist. The majority opinion was not written by one person, each justice wrote their own opinion to the court because none could agree on any one reason. Justice William O. Douglas wrote an opinion that best explained the court’s decision, he stated that under English law, “the death penalty was unfair if it was applied unevenly to minorities, outcasts, and unpopular groups” (Henson). Douglas believed African Americans, poor and uneducated members of society received the death penalty the most due to juries having no guidance when applying the death penalty, thus allowing the juries to act on their prejudices and target unpopular groups. “Douglas suggested death penalty laws would have to be rewritten to prevent such results” (Henson). Justices William J. Brennan, Jr., and Thurgood Marshall wrote their opinion equal to William Douglas but slightly different in reasoning, both believed the death penalty was cruel and unusual and should be stopped in all cases and outlawed forever. The minority opinion was written by Harry A. Blackmun, Warren E. Burger, Lewis F. Powell, Jr. and William H. Rehnquist. In chief Justice Warren Burger’s view he argued that, while "the Eighth Amendment forbids the imposition of punishments that are so cruel and inhumane as to violate society's standards of civilized conduct, “ the amendment "most assuredly does not speak to the power of legislatures to confer sentencing discretion on juries” (Coenen). Overall the dissenters were arguing that the Court was straying into an area properly delegated to the judgment of state legislatures.
In my opinion I agree with the minority dissenters, not their direct opinion that their straying into state legislatures territory but, the overall outcome. I think whether you kill someone on purpose or while committing a crime you don’t deserve to live. It is that simple you don’t kill people. If it is an accident with no crime intended then it gets complicated and hard to choose a consequence or no consequence. My vote would be deny Mr. Furman’s appeal and sentence him to death, even though he killed Mr. Micke on accident he was breaking and entering his house to steal from it and he should not have. But I do agree that the death penalty was re-written to make consistent standards across all 50 states. We cannot have different standards on such a life or death situation.
The death penalty was put on moratorium in the U.S and all cases involving the death penalty were stopped until the standards used were consistent across all 50 states. After the final vote Texas, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina rewrote their criminal codes and meanings to better define and apply the death penalty according to the Furman case.
Gregg v. Georgia is a similar case that involved Troy Leon Gregg in a case against the Supreme Court. Mr. Gregg was found guilty of armed robbery and murder, his trial sentenced him to the death penalty for the crimes committed except for the armed robbery. Gregg appealed his case to the Supreme Court and declared it “cruel and unusual” punishment that violated the Eight and Fourteenth amendments (Gregg). The big question is the sentence given not cruel but, whether the process by which those sentences were imposed is rational and objectively reviewable.
The majority opinion was held by William O. Douglas, Potter Stewart, Byron R. White, Harry A. Blackmun, Warren E. Burger, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., William H. Rehnquist. The minority opinion was held by William J. Brennan, Jr. and Thurgood Marshall. The final vote being 7-2. The majority opinion was written by several justices Potter stewart, Harry A. Blackmun and Warren E. Burger. They believed the case was not unusual and that the states criminal codes were in line and followed the Furman v. Georgia case. The dissenting opinion held by Brennan and Marshall "evolving standards of decency" require focus not on the essence of the death penalty itself, but primarily upon the procedures employed by the State to single out persons to suffer the penalty of death (sellin). These two justices continued to dissent each case involving the death penalty and backed each other up, though neither convinced any other justices.
In this case I agree with the outcome I think the majority’s opinion is right and Gregg needs to suffer the consequence for his actions. The overall process and decision was correct and followed the steps of Supreme Court law. I think this was a good basic case to begin the death penalty and establish a level of accurate sentencing.
One could say Gregg v Georgia was the beginning of the death penalty. Although it had been around for years this was the first time it was upheld in a court of law and recognized by the U.S. This case shaped the procedures and qualifications for a person to undergo the death penalty. “Considerations of federalism, as well as respect for the ability of a legislature to evaluate… the moral consensus concerning the death penalty and its social utility as a sanction, require us to conclude, in the absence of more convincing evidence, that the infliction of death as a punishment for murder is not without justification and thus is not unconstitutionally severe” (sellin).
Racial discrimination and the death penalty is a very hot topic for debaters and others alike. First ill start off with the definition of racial discrimination which is a noun meaning any discriminatory or abusive behavior towards members of another race. There are many categories that fall under this topic. You have racism of jury, racism of defendant, racism of victim, racism of district attorneys and many others. What does this mean? To some it means an unfair chance to represent themselves in a court of law to others it means an unfair chance at gaining the opportunity to become a district attorney and for others their race is more likely to determine the sentencing of death. Facts show the results of people sentenced to the death penalty are most likely to be African American and the number of district attorneys is 98% Caucasian and 1% African. “The decisions about who lives and who dies are being made along racial lines by a nearly all white group of prosecutors” (winters). These stats make people believe decisions made are racist and are not being determined fairly. I don’t think this is the case at all when it comes to the death penalty the judge and justices are looking at the facts and cold hard evidence. They do not account for their race or the race of the individual because it does not have a role in the case, it would be against their sworn statement. Any judge having sympathy for a defendant of the same race should be removed from the stand. Race should not play a role in determining a person’s criminal punishment or sentence. Even though the stats show a dramatic variation in race to people sentenced for death, majority or district attorneys being one race this wasn’t chosen to be this way it just happened like that. I believe all cases were given fair and equal opportunity and no decisions were made by race. The U.S defeated racism in 1965 when African Americans were given full rights, although tensions between whites and blacks was still high the law named every man equal. It is possible racism occurred in the courts around this time because not every man was equal. Currently judges are sworn in office under oath promising not to judge on any other premise than hard evidence, “I shall never, under any pretext, pervert the law nor promote injustice because of kinship, relationship, friendship, envy, hatred or fear” if a judge does break oath the consequences are very strict (legal).
It might seem reasonable to compare the punishment received by blacks who murder whites with the punishment received by whites who murder blacks. Unfortunately, while black on white crime is relatively rare, white on black crime is even rarer. There simply is not an adequate statistical base to allow us to generalize whites who murder blacks, which pretty much leaves us to compare the way the system treats blacks who murder blacks with the way it treats whites who murder whites. The ruling of a black murdering a black is the same ruling as a black murdering a white or vise-versa. Some cases may be more prevalent in one state or in several states but that’s the way it is. Facts show the average African American is typically more aggressive than the average Caucasian. So in theory more blacks may be imprisoned and sentenced more frequently. At the same time the media plays a large role in expressing racism, they may publicize white victim homicides much more intensely, which in turn puts pressure on prosecutors to do something in response, by seeking a capital sentence. Likewise, prosecutors choose cases in which they will seek death very cautiously. They may assess that the odds are higher of gaining a death sentence, when the homicide victim is white.
Overall there are many different ways people perceive racial discrimination and the death penalty. I do not believe racial discrimination is affecting the decisions of capital cases but trends are taking affect.

Crime is an obvious element of society and something needs to deter people from committing criminal acts. As a nation, we must have zero tolerance for horrific crimes such as murder and we must have a just punishment for a crime to insure some control over criminals. I strongly believe the death penalty deters crime because there are two different types of deterrence. The first is specific deterrence. The goal of specific deterrence is to lessen the probability of having a repeat offender. For example, the three strikes law is one of the methods that is used to assist this category of deterrence. A stricter sentence for lesser crimes is another example of specific deterrence. The other category of deterrence is general deterrence. General deterrence focuses more on future offenders and attempts to positively influence would be offenders and stop the crimes before they happen.
When someone is caught, charged, tried, found guilty, and sentenced to death, that person’s execution will be what serves as a deterrent to others from committing a major crime. Houston had the highest murder rate in 1981, with 701 murders (abolition). In 1982, Texas resumed executions. Since then Houston has executed more murderers than any other city, and has seen the greatest reduction in murder. The city went from 701 murders to 216 murders in a 15-year span; this is a 63% reduction and represents how many people that were saved by the death penalty. The innocents and would-be victims were saved from a harsh death because of the death penalty that “supposedly” did not work. A geographic study from 1994 stated that each execution deters 8 or more murders.
The goal of the death penalty is not to get revenge on the criminal, but to prevent more crimes of the same nature from occurring. Execution equals deterrent, which can ultimately lead to prevention. If a convicted murderer is put into prison for life without parole, that person is given another chance to kill again. What will happen if that person kills again in prison or even if they escape and kill again? Following law that person will be put back into prison and given another chance to kill. If the death penalty would have been imposed that person would have never had the second chance. However If the death penalty were the mandatory sentencing for any murder, the murder rates in our society would surely lessen. The death penalty gives peace of mind to the victims’ families and puts an end to the crime. I believe the death penalty should be legalized in all fifty states to keep repeat offenders off of the streets, and to reduce taxpayers the cost of keeping those found guilty of heinous crimes in prison low. To me this seems pretty simple overall and I like to think of it as “an eye for an eye” if you kill someone you will be killed to. This has been going on since the time of mankind and is part of our history. For example, when raising chickens you want to keep the best looking and generally the biggest chickens in your coop. Say your first clutch hatches a chicken with a crooked beak that chicken will have to be removed or its genes can become more predominant in your clutch and then you will have a bunch of chickens with crooked beaks that can’t eat, which is no good. After, removing the chicken from your coop the remaining chickens have a better chance of growing and raising more quality chickens. In the end the chances of having big good looking chickens is increased and better off. Although the chicken didn’t commit a crime relate this to human life. The chicken with the crooked beak is the person who committed a heinous crime, overall society will be better off without that person and safer.

One of the most controversial issues in the rights of juveniles today is addressed in the question, "Should the death penalty be applied to juveniles"? For nearly a century the juvenile courts have existed to shield the majority of juvenile offenders from the full weight of criminal law and to protect their entitled "special rights and immunities." The United States Supreme Court has ruled that the execution of children as young as sixteen is not cruel and unusual punishment. Out of thirty-eight states with the death penalty, thirteen have set the minimum age for death at eighteen; four states set the minimum at seventeen; nine set the minimum age at sixteen; twelve have no minimum age specified. In 1996, prosecutors in the state of Mississippi sought the death penalty for juveniles as young as thirteen years of age (sullivan). In 1999, a Texas legislator announced his plan to lower the state's minimum age to eleven. The youngest person executed since World War II in the United States was George Stinny, a fourteen year-old black boy.
Some argue that children mature enough to murder are mature enough to be punished for it. The death penalty is usually the last alternative for justice. "If someone does adult crime, they are acting as adults, and they have to take responsibility" (sullivan). I believe that capital punishment is not only for those with records of criminality but also for anyone who commits heinous crimes. Republican Governor Pete Wilson of California has suggested that fourteen year-olds should be eligible for the death penalty. The spokesman for Wilson, Sean Walsh, explained why Wilson was suggesting this. Walsh thought that gangs in California often use underage triggermen because the gangs know that, if the triggermen are caught, they will not be subject to capital punishment. Lowering the minimum age, he argues, would change that practice (megivern). Since 1990, only six countries have executed people for crimes they committed as kids: Iran, Yemen, Pakistan, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and the United States (Louisiana). Others believe alternatives should be given to juveniles by placing these juveniles in boot camp, where they can learn how to be more disciplined and how to be a better person. These special camps would be for the capital crime juveniles. The juveniles must stay a minimum of three years and the maximum is decided by the judge. Then after boot camp the juveniles will be assigned a job led to a productive lifestyle. They will not be able to leave until they are prepared mentally. But, again adopting a policy like this will take lots of federal money to maintain such a program and it offers no 100% guarantee to “fixing” the juvenile. I believe juveniles should be just as likely to receive the death penalty as adults but, an extra review should be given to every juvenile’s case to ensure the right choice is made when sentencing. Just because the person is young doesn’t mean they are not a killer. The extra review needs to be in place to ensure the juvenile was not forced or threatened by an adult to kill another person. The juvenile court system provides the juveniles with protection from publicity, confinement only to twenty-one years of age, no confinement with adults, and protection against the consequences of adult conviction such as the loss of civil rights. I think the juvenile courts protect the juveniles too much, if they committed the crime put them in with the big boys maybe then they’ll realized what they have done and want to do whatever they can to fix it and get out. Treating them like a kid with only a slap on the wrist doesn’t scare them enough from not doing it again.

Some say that we must not execute people who do not know right from wrong and who lack understanding the severity of their crimes. The reality is that we have not been executing such people for decades, because current law doesn't allow it. Currently, during pre-trial, trial and appeals, the law provides evaluation for mental competency and such an evaluation requires that the defendant understand the consequences of their actions. They must be able to constructively participate in their own defense and that they understand the nature of their punishment. Death penalty opponents state that Texas has executed 6 mentally retarded capital murderers. Those executed are defined as mentally retarded by their IQ numbers.
First, mental health professions state that IQ measurements alone cannot establish mental retardation. So states that solely use that standard to exclude a possible death sentence have used an improper standard and those who declare people mentally retarded simply by IQ numbers are equally incorrect. The Texas six are called mentally retarded because they allegedly had a measured IQ of below 70 a standard below which some establish mental retardation. Only performance IQ, which attempts to measure a person’s abilities to function effectively under real world situations, is the relevant issue.
Again, those states and advocates who use only general IQ evaluations have misunderstood or improperly applied that qualification. There are some additional considerations, many argue to halt execution of the "mentally retarded", yet they do nothing to properly define what "mentally retarded" means. Many lack a full understanding of the issues, much less do they discuss the premeditation planning and consideration which the alleged "mentally retarded" murderer may have invested in the murder. Others argue against the death penalty option for the mentally retarded and fail to tell us why the individuals should not be subject to execution, but claim the subject may be eligible for a life sentence. Is the murderer any less guilty for one sentence than the other just because of mental retardation?
A jury may decide that the murderer deserves a lesser sentence, because of competency issues, but that decision is best made by the jury (legal), which has all the case facts before it. Much of the effort to exempt the "mentally retarded" from execution is another effort to reduce the proper sentencing option by those who oppose executions under all circumstances. In establishing a below 70 IQ number as the threshold for withholding a death sentence option, several important issues arise. When was the IQ test taken? If the test was taken after an arrest, then there is a strong chance that the arrested party would do everything possible to score as low as possible. This is known as the self-preservation issue and would void the reliability of the test. If the defendant knew right from wrong, can constructively participate in their own defense and establish they understand the nature of their punishment. I see no problem with executing the criminal and providing justice for the victims. As long as these crucial guidelines are met and the defendant is coherent during the case life sentences and executions will take place.

Works Cited
Henson, Burt M., and Ross R. Olney. Furman v. Georgia: “The Death Penalty and the Constitution”. New York: Franklin Watts, Ind., 1996.
Steins, Richard. The Death Penalty: Is It Justice? Twenty First Century Books, 1995.
Winters, Paul A., ed. The Death Penalty: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1997.
Dan T. Coenen. Georgia Humanities Council and the University of Georgia Press. http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-2931
GREGG v. GEORGIA. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 05 October 2012. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1975/1975_74_6257/>.
Quoting T. Sellin, The Death Penalty, A Report for the Model Penal Code Project of the American Law Institute 15 (1959). http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0428_0153_ZD.html
Legal Information Institute. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/28/453
Sullivan, Coonor R. "Types of Capital Punishment in the Modern World." Ezine Articles. 08
July 2010. Web. 15 Feb. 2011.
Abolition Of The Death Penalty." Arizona Law Review 52.4 (2010): 889-924. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 16 Feb. 2011.
Louisiana. Say No To Kids Death 3 May 1998. 1 Jan. 1999 http://home.c2i.net/sissel.norway/juveniles.htmlMegivern, James J. "The Death Penalty." Historical and Theological Survey New York 1997.
"Furman V. Georgia" StudyMode.com. 04 2010. 04 2010 <http://www.studymode.com/essays/Furman-V-Georgia-314297.html>.…...

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...NAME: SALONI KUMARI SEM: 2 ; SECTION: A ROLL NO. : 405 ABSTRACT: DEATH PENALTY “An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind” * MAHATMA GANDHI SHOULD THE DEATH PENALTY BE ABOLISHED? According to oxford dictionary death penalty is the legally authorized killing of someone as punishment for crime. It is the death sentence awarded for capital offences like crimes involving planned murder, multiple murder, repeated crimes, rape and murder etc. where in criminal provisions consider such person as gross danger to the existence in the society and provide death punishment. So, the purpose of this research paper is to highlight, how death penalty infringes individual’s Right to equality before Law and Right to life and personal liberty under Article 14 and 21 of the constitution as death penalty is one of the most barbaric way to deal with the murder and morally there is nothing that makes us better if we kill those who kill. And, whether the judiciary system removes the chances of punishing innocent completely? Apart from these, do the criminals deserves such an easy death, Is it not important for the criminals to suffer more than the person they attacked as dying at once by death penalty is very easy but dying every day in the jail for the completion of life imprisonment is very tough. But whether the abolishment of death penalty would amount to a rational decision, as the abolition of death penalty completely would amount to repeated crimes or can give a second......

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Death Penalty

...Death Penalty Definition The death penalty is a sentence of execution for murder and other serious crimes, which are punishable by death. The term capital punishment was borrowed from Latin word capitallis meaning related to head. It, therefore, referred to the one commonly used the method of execution, beheading. Death penalty and capital are terms widely used together to mean the same. However, some people have argued that the terms might not be the same. They believe that capital punishment might not necessarily result into a death penalty since the penalty might be translated into life incarceration. Throughout history, people have found wise to repay a victim by death for wrongs committed against them. For purposes of personal retribution and religious influence, death was seen as the best punishment one can be handed for committing a crime. However, this notion has significantly changed over time with some countries abolishing it completely while others have reduced the offences punishable by death. Historically some of the common crimes that were punishable by death included murder, adultery, robbery with violence, apostasy, rape, treason and some military offenses. These crimes are however different among countries. China, for example, punishes serious corruption crimes by death. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Qatar, which derive their legal system from Sharia law, also have different crimes, which are subjected to a death penalty. Such countries are most......

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Death Penalty

...Denied: The Effects Being Ignored Death by lethal injection, death by electrocution, or any form of the death penalty given that people find to be fit for capital crimes is not a human’s right. We as humans do not have the right to end someone’s life based on the fact that they committed a crime. We have to take into accountability the countless amounts of lives that are impacted by this. Even on the international level, there are hundreds of countries who have abolished the death penalty completely. There is more to this than others think, yet they do not take the time to research or study the adverse effects of what this kind of punishment can cause. The death penalty violates the human right to life and causes a ripple effect that destroys the lives of the families of the individuals being executed. Death penalty supporters can be very profound with their opinions on what they believe is an excellent crime deterrent. In an article written for the Journal of Criminal Justice between May and June 2009, one of the authors by the name Shanhe Jiang stated, “Supporters of the death penalty argue that sentencing criminals to death deters others from committing a similar crime in the future.” He states that future crimes could indeed be deterred because of the continued support for the death penalty. In many cases, people see the death penalty as a form to punish those who commit murder, mass murder, rape and any other crime that warrants death. Supporters of this crime......

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Death Penalty

...advocate death penalty for everybody. A person, who stole bread from a grocery store, definitely does not deserve death penalty. However, a serial killer, who kills people for fun or for his personal gain, definitely deserves death penalty. Death penalty should continue in order to eliminate the garbage of our society. Not everybody deserves to die, but some people definitely do. I support death penalty because of several reasons. Firstly, I believe that death penalty serves as a deterrent and helps in reducing crime. Secondly, it is true that death penalty is irreversible, but it is hard to kill a wrongly convicted person due to the several chances given to the convicted to prove his innocence. Thirdly, death penalty assures safety of the society by eliminating these criminals. Finally, I believe in "lex tallionis" - a life for a life. Deterrence means to punish somebody as an example and to create fear in other people for the punishment. Death penalty is one of those extreme punishments that would create fear in the mind of any sane person. Ernest van den Haag, in his article "On Deterrence and the Death Penalty" mentions, "One abstains from dangerous acts because of vague, inchoate, habitual and, above all, preconscious fears" (193). Everybody fears death, even animals. Most criminals would think twice if they knew their own lives were at stake. Although there is no statistical evidence that death penalty deters crime, but we have to agree that most of us fear death.......

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Death Penalty

...For decades people have debated the death penalty. These discussions have taken place at the water cooler in the workplace as well as at family dinners. Some people see it as a barbaric form of torture, and others see it as a necessity of modern life. Most people do not understand the complex issues that heads of states need to evaluate regarding the death penalty. In conference rooms they discuss issues such as costs, wrongful convictions and what they could do with the additional revenues. Even though some people see the death penalty as a crime deterrent, in this economy individual states have to rethink the financial costs involved. Many people do not realize the additional costs associated with a death penalty case. People who are in support of the death penalty believe that it is cheaper to execute a criminal than to leave them in a jail cell paid for with the money individual's pay to the government in taxes. California is second to Texas in regard to juries and county prosecutors condemning people with a death sentence. (Tempest, 2005) What they do not realize is that at times it can take more than two decades for a death sentence to come to the conclusion of an execution. The trial alone in a death penalty case can cost millions more to prosecute. A study in Maryland estimates that the average cost to taxpayers for reaching a single death sentence is $3 million - $1.9 million more than the cost of a non-death penalty case. (Roman, J., Chalfin, A.,......

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