Motivations for the Abolishment of Capital Punishment

Motivationsfor the Abolishment of Capital Punishment

Thereare various indicators to support capital punishment. Proponents fordeath row punishment provide that it serves as justice for thedeceased family. Second, there exist arguments that capitalpunishment serves as a deterrent for aspiring law offenders. Othersargue that it is supported by the bible in the old testament by theverse that calls for an ‘eye for an eye’. Research has indicatedthat capital punishment does not serve as a deterrent for crime sincecountries with capital punishment have higher crimes than thosewithout it. In addition, a study of decisions of cases has revealedthe discriminatory nature of the capital punishment awards. Othersupports for the abolishment of capital punishment provide that it isexpensive than ordinary cases and that the long duration spent incourt cases makes capital punishmentineffective.

Thesis statement: Capital punishment should be abolished in theUnited States of America.


Sharpand Susan (54) provide that death sentence is one of the trendingcases in world politics. Countries such as China, Iran, Saudi Arabiaand Iraq are among the leading nations that support death penalties.Specifically, a study conducted by Amnesty International on the rateof executions indicates that almost half of people sentenced to deathare executed. The statistics show that in Iran, 156 individuals havebeen convicted to death while 1,663 people were executed. Itindicates that there are additional executions to those sentenced todeath. In Saudi Arabia, 54 people have been killed out of 423condemned to death. According to Amnesty International, in the UnitedStates of America there have been 220 executions out of 504 peoplesentenced to death (Death Penalty and Innocence).

Thefirst problem with death penalty is that it is expensive than othertypical cases. Amnesty International conducted a study of the costsof death penalties in Kansas (Banks 28). It revealed that a deathsentence case costs more than a standard case by 70%. Specifically,the whole process of death penalty costs approximately 1.26 milliondollars while a non-death penalty case cost nearly 740,000 dollars.Similarly, in Tennessee, capital punishment case cost 48% more than anon-death case (Death Penalty and Innocence).

InMaryland, death penalty cost three times more than a non-death casecosting approximately 3 million dollars. In California, the deathsentence system costs 137 million dollars per annum compared to anon-death case system that cost 115 million dollars. The costindicates more than twice the cost of a non-death case system. Thehighest costs associated with a death trial occur during the trialand in the post-conviction proceedings. Amnesty Internationalrevealed that even after the abolition of the post-conviction costssuch as the costs of appeals, the death trial proceedings wouldremain more expensive compared to non-death trial proceedings. Theextra costs ensue since the death trial cases entail two phases.First, is the conviction phase and the second is the sentencingphase. Different motions that are costly characterize the stagesthey also consume time due to the need for jury selection beforeholding the trials. The costs increase due to the need forinvestigations (Death Penalty and Innocence).

Second,the death trial cases result into a misdirection of funds. Theyresult in the diversion of resources from the precise application ofcrime control measures. A lot of taxpayer’s money gets used ininvestigations and the conduct of death trials, consequently, thereare insufficient resources for crime prevention activities. Theyinclude activities such as mental health treatment, rehabilitation,drug provision and meaningful services to the victims (Death Penaltyand Innocence).

Proponentsagainst capital punishment provide that death trials results into thediversion of resources from the existing criminal justice systems.They include systems used for activities such as the prosecution ofdrug related crimes, child abuse, and domestic violence. It alsoresults in a shortage of resources for other highly prioritizedactivities. Specifically, the building of schools and libraries,offering public health and construction of roads are highlyprioritized actions than death trials.

Besides,supporters for abolition of capital punishment provide that deathtrial is related to utter arbitrariness. Research has indicated thatalmost all of the death row convicts are from poor backgrounds (Banks39). Their poor socioeconomic background further implies that thevictims cannot afford to pay for attorney fees. Sharp and Susan (54)agrees that the victims are represented by court-appointed attorneysthat do not have the necessary experience. Besides, the attorneys aremostly overworked and underpaid. Some of the attorneys reportedhaving slept in through some parts of the trial processes or areunder the influence of alcohol. Consequently, the death row sentencehas the problem of executing innocent lives whose prosecutors couldnot provide a convincing stand to the jury. Since 1973, over 140people were released from death rows all over the United States dueto evidence indicating their wrongful conviction (Death Penalty andInnocence). According to the Amnesty International records, 1200people have been executed in the same period (Death Penalty andInnocence).

Thereis further support for arbitrariness in capital punishment as per thetrends of prosecutors. It observes that the trends by prosecutorssuggest that they tend to seek the death penalty when the victim iswhite as opposed to when the victim is black or from another racialbackground. The Amnesty International supports that death rowsentencing is unfair the United States statistics indicates thatsince 1977, 77% of death row defendants are executed for murder casesinvolving white victims. On the contrary, only 23% whites areconvicted for the death of African Americans (Sharp and Susan 56).

Additionalreasons for the abolishment of capital punishment relate to courtsinconsistencies in decision-making. The arbitrariness of the deathsentence further extends to the failure of consistency in thedecision making of the court. There are case decisions whereco-defendants committing similar crimes receive differentpunishments one receives a death penalty while the other receives alifetime imprisonment. Besides, research has indicated thatapproximately two percent of defendants convicted of crimes relatedto death penalties are sentenced to death (Sharp and Susan 54).Regarding geographical arbitrariness, since 1976, the year when theUnited States reinstated the death penalty, the southern parts haveconducted a majority 82 % of death sentences. The north of thecountry is associated with only 1% of death trial execution. Otherforms of arbitrariness involve instances when local politics andother factors such as plea bargaining, crime location, and purechance take play into deciding who is convicted with a death sentenceand who is not (Death Penalty and Innocence)

Concerningeffectiveness, the death row sentence has proven ineffective. Some ofthe arguments for the use of the death row sentence is to reduce therate of crime. Proponents for the death row sentence argue that thepunishment deters crime by making would be killers and murderers tofear the consequences of their actions. Research has proven that 14states that do not have death sentence have fewer homicide relatedcases. Besides, the death row sentence does not account for themental defects of the defendants. In addition, deterrence is moreeffective when the punishment occurs shortly after the crime. Forexample, when a child puts their finger on the fire, they are burntand do not repeat the act. In contrast, the extended period of thecrime and the punishment is characterized by trials. Consequently,the punishment is less effective (Rogers and Chalabi).

Thereasons for the death sentence lack enough justification. Sharp andSusan (54) indicate that the death row punishment is supported by thebible verse, ‘an eye for an eye’. Banks (28) contends that theverse is profoundly misunderstood the verse implies that the guiltyare prone to punishment, however, the punishment should not be toolenient or too severe.The use of the death row offers morepunishment for the criminal during the time they are awaiting theirexecution compared to the implementation itself. It is thus evidentthat the United States of America should abolish the use of death rowsentence in its courts (Rogers and Chalabi).

Part B

Variousaspects make the arguments cogent. First, the text has explored theuse of the death row conviction by identifying areas of highfrequency such as China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Itindicates that capital punishment is common in Asia and the MiddleEast. Capital punishment serves as an indication that death row isnot a common practice in Europe and America. The list should serve asan indication that America needs to abolish the use of death rows andfollow suit with other comparable countries (Banks and Cyndi 28).

Second,the text has delved into the costs incurred by the death trialprocesses in the United States. The text evaluates associated costswith the execution of one person in comparison to non-death rowcases. It found that the prior has twice the expenditure. The textfurther emphasized that the high costs are at the expense of anotherhigh priority task such as the construction of road, hospitals andschools (Rogers and Chalabi).

Third,the text has evaluated the proponents for death row to dismiss andexpound on the negative side of capital punishment. For example, ithas dismissed the call for the death sentence by use of the biblesold testament of ‘an eye for an eye’ as a misunderstanding thatdoes not equate to justice. Other ineffectiveness of the use of deathrow includes its arbitrariness. The text has offered statisticsindicating that most of the cases are racially selective between thewhites and other races. Death row sentences are associated with ahigh risk of executing the poor and the innocent due to theirinability to afford quality prosecutors (Sharp and Susan 54).

Finally,the text attempts to convince the reader by providing data explainingthe statistical effectiveness of the death row sentence. Thepunishment does not deter crime as advocated by its supporters.Instead, research has indicated that states without the deathsentence have lower crime rates (Banks 28)


“DeathPenalty and Innocence.”AmnestyInternational.2015.Web. 19 Nov. 2015.

Rogers,Simon and Mona Chalabi. “Death Penalty Statistics, Country ByCountry.” Theguardian.13 Dec. 2013. Web. 19 Nov. 2015.

Banks,Cyndi.&nbspCriminalJustice Ethics: Theory and Practice.3rded. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, 2013. Print.