Capital punishment is the legal killing of a person as a punishment for a crime they committed. The first capital punishment in the United States of America was executed in 1608, by firing squad, on a Spanish nationalist for allegedly spying for his government. Over the years, courts in different states in America have continued to pass capital punishment on people convicted of capital crimes. The most common offences that warrant a capital punishment include; murder, sexually assaulting minors, kidnapping high-ranking government officials, espionage, terrorism and treason. It is the role of the independent judicial institutions in every state to ensure that capital punishment is only given to those who deserve it. The judiciary also goes ahead to determine the manner in which the punishment is going to be executed. This paper seeks to provide an elaborate discussion on various matters revolving around capital punishment in the United States of America (Ginbar, Wetzel and Zilli, 2016).
On September 28, 1994, Timothy Ring was arrested and aligned in court alongside other suspects for allegedly stealing an armored vehicle. They were further accused of killing the driver on the spot and making away with an unspecified amount of money. Timothy Ring was arrested after a member of the public tipped the police on his involvement in that heinous crime. From the information gathered through a police investigation, he was found to be the ringleader of that criminal operation. For this reason, Ring was charged with first-degree murder in line with the Arizona Law. In spite of all the incriminating evidence presented to the court, Ring could not be given a death sentence until the judge presented more findings. After Rings accomplices had testified against him at the sentencing hearing, Ring was sentenced to death. The judge based his judgment in this case on the facts that Ring committed this offence with the aim of self-enrichment and that he did it in an extremely heinous and cruel manner. The majority of the jury members were found to be in favour of this ruling (Toth, 2016).
Proponents of capital punishment argue that the death penalty benefits the society by guaranteeing that those executed will never have another chance to commit any other crime. This argument logically holds since after the perpetrators have been executed, their chances of ever committing any other crime cease to exist. Others who support capital punishment argue it is much cheaper compared to life imprisonment. In the United States of America, it is estimated that every inmate spends $117, of the taxpayers’ money, per year while in prison. Much less money is used to execute a capital offender. Regular citizens end up being burdened with heavy taxes imposed to ensure that the inmates are supplied with adequate resources while in prison. This argument, therefore, holds some logical sense (Ginbar, Wetzel and Zilli, 2016).
In their fight against capital punishment, religious believers argue that it is only God who has the right to take a person’s life. This argument is based on the concept of divinity whereby it is only the supernatural beings, worshipped in different religions, who can rightfully take human life. They even go further to use religious publications to back up their argument. Other people argue that it should not be in any civilian’s job description to kill other people. It has been found out that 13 percent of the individuals who are tasked with execution of capital punishment around the world end up being victims of post-traumatic stress disorder. Owing to these facts, this argument makes logical sense (Ginbar, Wetzel and Zilli, 2016)..
In my opinion, capital punishment should be scraped off any judicial system in the world. My opinion is based on the fact that, no family should have to go through the pain and trauma of seeing a loved one being executed. No child should have to grow up without a mother’s or father’s love. In the past, the credibility of judicial institutions has been widely questioned after discovering that some people had been wrongly convicted of crimes they did not commit. Owing to this fact, I am therefore justified to say that capistal punishment should be banned to avoid execution of innocent persons. It is also in my opinion that nobody should be tasked with the responsibility of killing a fellow human being as this has been found to expose them to various psychological traumas. As a way of dealing with the trauma, most of them have been found to end up indulging in substance abuse. For this reason, no civilian’s job description should involve killing another person in the name of justice.
- Ginbar, Y., Wetzel, J. E., & Zilli, L. (2016). Non-refoulement Obligations Under International Law in the Context of the Death Penalty. Capital Punishment: New Perspectives, 95.
- Toth, Z. J. (2016). The right to life and human dignity in hungary concerning the issue of capital punishment. Constitutional Values in Contemporary Legal Space I, 520.