Capital Punishment Decisions
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Bailey & Peterson (1997), assert that capital punishment or otherwise the death sentences is where a person gets killed through a judicial process as a punishment for an offense committed. Crimes whose penalty is death are referred to as capital offenses or capital crimes. In the past, almost all societies in the world practiced capital punishment. Some of the offenses that carried death sentence as penalty include: arson, rape, murder, burglary and larceny. The current statistics indicate that today, there are only about 58 countries that are sternly engaged in capital punishment with China and Iran holding the first and the second position in that order . The number of those nations that have completely abolished the act are 95 and the remainder of the countries has never practiced it for the last ten years and have only allowed it exceptionally in situations such as war.
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In the United States of America today, the crimes subject to capital punishment and the techniques of executing them differ by jurisdiction and throughout the time, they have widely varied. Many states have banned the practice with others suspending it. However, there are some states that have increased the applicability of the act. The methods that are being used include lethal injection litigation, the gas chamber, shooting, hanging and use of electric chair (Bailey & Peterson, 1997). The state that exercised the largest number of excutions in 2009 according to research is Texas with 24, Alabama and Ohio followed with 6 and 5 executions respectively. Nonetheless, some states like Michigan and Wisconsin have historically been without capital punishment.
Banner (2002), observes that whether capital punishment should carry on or should be abolished in all states in the United States of America and the whole world is a puzzle that is yet to be solved. There are many who think that this act should go on and still the other side of the debate has as many supporters. Nevertheless, capital punishment decisions should never be left to states for it is unfair.
The first instance of unfairness come into picture by the varying levels of penalties accorded to capital offenders that might have committed the same offense that deserve the same magnitude of punishment. Human being need to be treated equally and fairly with dignity and respect all over the world without discrimination on where one comes from. It beats logic for someone who has committed murder in a given state like Michigan or a country like China to be executed while on the other hand, in the neighboring state or country, there is one an offender facing a different or a relatively lenient sentence like life imprisonment without parole. This is a total case of injustice and violation of human rights and to some extend discrimination. These disparities in penalties accorded to capital offenders wworks against the principle of justice and fairness (Arriens, 1997).
Capital punishment will also lead to executions of genuinely innocent people. There is no point at which a lost life can be compensated and it will serve as a big loss the family and friends of the deceased. This miscarriage of justice has to be looked at in a different perspective and there has to be a universal way of handling the issue to draw the mandate away from individual states. Some innocent people end up admitting to having committed murder when it was actually manslaughter. They consequently get executed instead of being convicted for manslaughter (Banner, 2002). Sometimes it gets so hard to establish whether it is murder or manslaughter and the punishment may be in favor of one instead of the other.
It is often overlooked but the agony that innocent families and friends of the deceased undergo through the period prior, during and after execution leads to serious implication and they have to struggle to cope. They have to withstand later years of immense trauma. It is habitually quite hard for to agree that there loved ones might have committed capital crimes but even harder when the penalty has been passed on. It is true that the victim’s family passes through the same situation of suffering and trauma but the devastation of the murderer’s family can and will never be overlooked for two wrongs don’t make a right.
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