Capital Punishment

Capital punishment is the lawful infliction of the death penalty and since
ancient times it has been used to punish a wide variety of offenses. The Bible
prescribes death for murder and many other crimes such as kidnapping and
witchcraft. Major felonies carry the death penalty and some of these felonies
are treason, murder, larceny, burglary, rape, and arson. In the 1800\'s however,

England enacted many new capital offenses, and hundreds of persons were being
sentenced to death each year. In the United States prior to the Civil War the
death penalty was imposed on slaves for many crimes, but the penalty for others
were less severe. Today, in 37 of the 50 states you can be sentenced to death if
found guilty of a crime worthy of the death penalty. The United States is the
only western democratic nation that has not banned the practice of capital
punishment (Levine 160). Capital punishment is not answer to crime. Martin

Luther King Jr. wrote, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can
do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies
hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a
descending spiral of destruction" (mccsc.edu). Due to lack of a fair trial,
innocence on death row, and the myth that it saves citizens money, the death
penalty should be abolished. The US constitution states, "In all criminal
prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by
an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been
committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to
be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the
witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his
favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense." The US
system is very good about keeping this right for every accused criminal.

Although, there are those lawyers who don\'t care about the people they
represent. There are lawyers who have passed the bar, and have taken the oath to
honorably defend. However, because of their illegal and immoral actions they
were disbarred. Lawyers like this should not defend the accused, but they do.

This does not protect the right to have the Assistance of Counsel for his
defense. A major aspect of the death penalty is that it is final. So what should
happen if mistakes are made? As of today April 28, 2000 there are about 3,500
men and women on death row (icomm.ca/aiusa). Even if only half of one percent
were innocent that would mean that about 16 people are waiting their death for a
crime they did not commit. There are so many aspects that go into the conviction
that it is impossible to have an infallible legal system. Witnesses can mistake
identification, false testimony can be given, and an overall prejudice can all
affect the outcome of a trial. Prejudice and inadequate defense can all lead to
a false death sentence. People who advocate the death penalty argue the point
that it is cheaper to kill an inmate on death row, than it is to house them in a
correctional facility. The idea is because they are dead the taxpayers will not
have to pay for the inmate. One aspect that contributes to the support of
capital punishment is that it affirms the principle of the rule of law. Law
should be reflective over the ideas of the community that is outraged over the
vicious crimes. Therefore, it would be fitting to sentence a punishment that is
worthy of the crime. When a child is growing up and he takes a cookie out of the
cookie jar, parents would say something like, "OK, well now you can not
have any sweets after dinner." They would not ground the child for a week.

It is human nature to make a punishment that fits the crime. In these terms the
death penalty would be a sensible punishment. It states in the Bible an eye for
an eye, which would support this claim fully. Although the sixth Commandment
also states that though shall not kill. So because one sin has already taken
place, is it right that the government commit another sin. Bernon Howery was
charged with setting a fire in south Chicago that killed four children including
three of his own. He asked attorney Earl Washington who had defended a relative
of Howery\'s to defend him. Although there were many leads in the case Washington
did not follow