Capital Punishment


In 1907, Mead Shumway a white male of Nebraska, was convicted of first-degree murder. Under circumstantial evidence, his jury sentenced him to death. His last words before his execution were: “I am an innocent man. May God forgive anyone who said anything against me.” The next year the victim’s husband confessed that he had killed his wife, that Mead Shumway was in fact telling the truth. He was an innocent man.

How do you feel about the death penalty? In 1992, researchers discovered one hundred and forty cases in which innocent people are now victims. Should capital punishment be allowed in the United State’s? I feel very strongly about the death penalty. Why should innocent people die? Falsely accusing someone of a crime is one of my biggest arguments against the death penalty.

Over time, many processes and procedures have been formed and created in order to assure that everyone receives fair treatment. In reality, these systems have failed. Our judicial system is letting criminals back out onto the streets and putting innocent people in jail and on death row. This system has failed many people, including Mead Shumway and his loved ones.

The judicial system is looking to punish those who have committed terrible crimes such as murder or rape. However, isn’t this system committing those same crimes? In 1976 the death penalty was reinstated and the execution per year has gone up and so has the murder rate. So how could one say that death row would help prevent the amount of murders? People teach you that killing another person is wrong, so how is capital punishment right? They too are killing people. Morally, the death penalty is a continuation of the cycle of violence. In my opinion, giving someone the death penalty is the easy way out. If we sentence those who are accused, to life in prison, they will have to live with what they have done and suffer in a scary and lonely place. To me that seems like more of a punishment.

The Webster’s Dictionary states that to kill is to deprive one of his or her life or to put one to death. Murder implies the motive and intent or premeditation. Execution, on the other hand, is a premeditated event, which deprives the accused of his or her life. Therefore, execution is as unrighteous as the act of murder itself.

Another reason I am not for the death penalty is because of the financial costs. The money used for the death penalty trials could be used toward other things that are important to our society. For instance, the money could be put toward additional penitentiary space, rehabilitation efforts, education, and to devote time and attention to juveniles. The death penalty is taking all the money that we could use toward bettering the United States. Why not put that money toward more useful programs?

Although money is a big issue with the death penalty, there are many more factors that should be considered. Recently, statistics show that ninety percent of defendants charged with capitol crimes cannot afford to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent them. This does not give the defendant a fair chance to prove his innocence. One must remember that life cannot be granted back to someone who is later found to be innocent. Why take that risk? How would you feel if someone you loved was wrongly accused and they were on death row? I know that I would never forgive the judicial system or anyone that said anything different from the truth.

At least with a different form of punishment that is reversible, innocent people can be set free! The innocent people will be able to have their life back and be free even though it was taken away from them for the wrong reasons. Instead of sentencing people to death, why not sentence them to life in prison? By sentencing accused offenders to life in prison, it gives the innocent the opportunity to prove their innocence. Although we would regret that the person spent time in jail, we can feel better that they were able to live their life again if they were found innocent! An execution is final. Someone cannot be brought back