The Death Penalty (876 words) Essay

The Death PenaltyI feel that this type of punishment is cruel and unusual. in violation of the Eighth
Amendment. I also say with the long wait on death row and the inefficiency of the
system, criminals are not deterred by this treatment. In addition, they ask, where is the
line drawn for crimes punishable by death? Out of 3,860 inmates executed from 1930 to
1980, 3380 were executed for murders; however, about 500 more were put to death for
other crimes. There is also the possibility that a criminal might be put to death for a crime
that another criminal in different state might have gotten a different punishment for. And
more minorities and ethnic Americans are executed, for the same crimes, than white
Americans. If people want to punish some one , I think killing really isn’t going to do
anything. When a person steps foot in the world of crime, they give up life. So how is
stopping life and giving up life really different. Death will approach them anyway, the
only different thing is who hand them it . I don’t think Human have any right to take
someone’s life, even our own. If people want to punish these criminals, punish them in a
way that they feel pain ,and agony, so that they ask for you to kill them. For the people
who have no conscience, we need to create one for them, so they can at least know and
feel the guilt of what they’ve done.

As of September 24, the United States set a new record by executing seventy-six persons in 1999,
more than in any year since the death penalty’s reinstatement in 1976. Nearly half of the 1999 executions
through September were carried out in Texas and Virginia. Among those executed in 1999 were foreign
nationals, a juvenile offender, and individuals who may have been mentally ill or retarded. Approximately
3,500 people were on death row.

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Doubts about the death penalty were particularly acute in Illinois: three of the six persons
exonerated on grounds of innocence and released from death row during 1999 had been tried and
imprisoned there. Illinois’ dramatic cases in 1999-one of the death row inmates had come within two days of
execution five months before his exoneration-sparked a number of investigations into the state’s use of the
death penalty. Governor George Ryan also signed legislation devoting public funds for prosecution and
defense in capital trials, including monies for attorneys, investigators, and forensic specialists.

The US continued to be one of only six countries to execute persons who were younger than
eighteen when the crimes for which they were sentenced were committed. The imposition of the death
penalty on persons who were under eighteen years of age at the time of their offense violated the provisions
of international and regional human rights treaties to which the United States is party. Despite nearly
unanimous international condemnation of the use of the death penalty for juvenile offenders, six countries in
the world-Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the United States, and Yemen-were known to have
executed juvenile offenders in the 1990s. The United States led the list with ten such executions between
1990 and 1999. In 1999, the United States carried out the execution of one juvenile offender, Sean Sellers,
marking the first time in forty years that the United States has executed someone for crimes committed as a
sixteen-year-old. Seventy juvenile offenders were on death row in the United States as of July 1, 1999.

In positive developments, the highest court of the US state of Florida ruled that the imposition of
the death penalty on sixteen-year-old offenders was cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the state
constitution; and effective October 1, 1999, the state of Montana abolished the death penalty for those
under eighteen at the time of their crimes. As a result, of the forty states that retained the death penalty after
October 1999, six allowed offenders sixteen years of age or older to be put to death. Nineteen states limited
the death penalty to those seventeen or older at the time of their crimes, and fifteen states restricted capital
punishment to adult offenders.

State authorities and US courts continued to disregard violations of the rights of defendants who
were not US citizens. Under the Vienna Convention, these defendants were supposed to be advised, upon
arrest, of their right to contact their embassies for assistance. In 1999, five foreign nationals were executed
despite reports that their right to consular notification had been breached: Jaturun Siripongs of Thailand;
Karl and Walter LaGrand, brothers from Germany; Alvaro Calambro of the Philippines; and Stanley
Faulder of Canada. Pleas from their governments were ignored, as were appeals from the
International Court of Justice in the cases of the LaGrand brothers and Stanley Faulder. The US
State Department did show signs of increased concern about Vienna Convention violations: Secretary of
State Madeleine Albright wrote to Texas Governor George Bush in an attempt to halt the execution of
Stanley Faulder, and the department was reportedly publishing and distributing training materials for police
regarding their obligations under the convention. In October, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights
issued an advisory opinion regarding US obligations under the Vienna Convention and opined that the
failure to notify foreign nationals about their right to seek consular assistance was in all cases a violation of
due process under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the American Convention on
Human Rights.



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