Death Penalty. Reasons why the death penalty should be abolished
Death Penalty- There are many reasons why the Death Penalty should be abolished- First and foremost let me start out by saying that the Death Penalty or Capital Punishment is an act of Murder. A barbaric act of Murder carried out in a supposedly clinical fashion at the time of the State Governors choosing.
We teach our children very early on that two wrongs do not make a right. Why then does this not apply to the highest institutions of social order?
The crime of Murder carries our harshest of sentences such is our disdain for the crime. Yet the Death Penalty is nothing more nothing less than murder carried out in a cruel and calculated manner by the state.
The Death Penalty is contrary and in violation of Human rights norms. This-is not a new phenomenon with China having previously abolished the death penalty between 1747 and 1759. The modem abolition movement was inspired by Italian César Beccaria in his work Dei Delitti e Delle Pene. On Crimes and Punishments published in 1764.
César argued that not only was the Death Penalty an injustice of itself but a futile exercise.
Cesar’s work inspired a Movement based on Human-Rights that led to the first nations abolishing the Death Penalty in modern times. They were the Roman Republic in 1849, Venezuela in 1863 and Portugal in 1867. Even earlier in 1786 then independent Tuscany abolished the death penalty and the date 30th November marks an annual holiday to-celebrate the event.
Following the Second World War a new era of Human Rights and International Law sought first to lay down the foundations of Human Rights (UDHR, 1948), to move towards country by country to introduce moratorium's and later in 1966 (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) and 1990 (Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) to abolish the Death Penalty universally.
The mere fact that the death penalty is by nature irreversible also raises a number of other issues. These serious flaw issues have with the [Death Penalty] again recently been highlighted in a report by the American Law Institute.
Firstly that judges and juries do make mistakes. For instance did "Texas execute an Innocent Man?" Studies around the globe have shown that the error rate is unacceptably high and indeed this was one of the crucial factors that led Governor Ryan of Illinois in 2003 to mandate the end of all executions in his state. After a lengthy commission into the practice Gov Ryan inquiry found not only error in the state's system that saw innocent men sent to death row, but also other factors of Race, Geographic, and Socio-economic factors playing a role in who did and didn't receive the Death Penalty. The error rate right across the USA has' been called into question with more and more death row inmates being released up to 20 years after their conviction with DNA evidence proving their innocence.
The fact that many of these detainees had had little to no legal representation including: Lawyers who slept through their trial. Lawyers who were using drugs or alcohol to excess during the trial. Lawyers who had been disbarred, police and expert witnesses who had latter admitted to 'lying under Oath', Forced and falsified confessions, and a host of other errors that bring the entire system of trying capital cases into disrepute.
It is often wrongly stated that the death penalty is a deterrent and is required in order that this phenomenon occurs. This argument has been dis-proven many times.
The recidivism rate of Murderer or Manslaughter is the lowest of all crimes and misdemeanors. Suggesting as is now well known in police and justice circles that most Murders are Crimes of Passion. That is they are carried out by members of the same family or someone known to them.
Comprehensive studies across the USA about the recidivism rate shown just how ludicrous that capital punishment has a deterrent effect on murder rates.
States that do not have the death penalty have much lower rates of violent crime, particularly rape and murder as Compared to those states that maintain and utilize the death penalty such as Texas. In fact no definitive study has ever proven that the death penalty has any deterrent effect.
As many nation's reintroduced or recommenced Executions to curb climbing crime-rates those Crime-Rates, particularly Drug Offences continued to climb.
The Death Penalty is also even less effective at protecting society as its proponents claim it to be. Life imprisonment is just if not more as effective at preventing the offender from committing a crime again. Punishment does not require a nation to sanction its acts of immoral and inhumane behavior by murdering the criminal.
The upholding of a moral code and human rights even in cases of-brutal crimes shows an unwavering support for human rights by the state that reinforces that states commitment to end ALL crimes against humanity. That is to prevent crimes committed against the state and its people as well as crime's it itself may commit.
Make no mistake, the Death Penalty is very rarely swift and even on rare occasions is it clean.
From hangings that result in decapitation, to firing squads forced to reload the weapons with ammunition. And try again after a poor shot, to lethal injections that take more than 40 minutes to finally stop the trashing victim and end their life.
There is absolutely no moral high ground in torturing a human being to death, even if it is dressed up in a thin veil of justice.
Finally so many including myself oppose the Death Penalty because we believe all killing of human beings is wrong. Just as I oppose all acts of violence whether they are murders carried out by an individual, to acts of war by states and terrorist organizations. I am opposed to the killing of a criminal. When the crime is one not involving murder such as the trafficking of drugs not even the vengeful code of an "eye for an eye" can justify the ultimate penalty.
When the death penalty is administered by systems and Governments that are sometimes corrupt and/ or contain racism, discriminate against the poor, the mentally ill, religious minorities, women and even children it cannot be allowed to continue and must be abolished.
Cases spanning thousands of years show the injustice of the Death Penalty and the crime of Execution.
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From the death sentence and subsequent execution of Socrates, the founder of western thought, for the crime of inspiring others to think.To 2004 case of Atefah Sahaaleh who was executed at the age of 16 in Neka, Iran. Her crime was being raped by a 51 year old man and her confession to this "crime" was extracted under duress.
Any system that publicly hangs, and Murders a young girl for being raped in an attempt to bring justice to Society is a system I oppose!
But all is not as stated earlier the Abolition Movement is not new and it has swept the majority of the World.
The notable exceptions being United States and the majority of South East Asia.
The last ten years has seen a renewal of the commitment by nations who themselves oppose the Death Penalty to push nation's who still utilise the death penalty to end the punishment. Indeed this is exactly what many International Agreements and Conventions have called for. Across the majority of Africa most Countries have moved into a position of Abolitionist de-facto. While states such as South Korea, the Philippines and Kyrgyzstan have extended their moratoriums.
t is up to nation's like Australia and its people to work with all the nation's of the world to end the practise once and for all. Country by country this is possible and the above has highlighted just some of reason's why nation's must take this stance. Here in Australia we must push our own government to do more on the International stage to speak out against the Death Penalty and work particularly hard in our own region for abolition. Further more Australian law enforcement officials must never be allowed to participate in cases that will see potential execution's
It is simply not good enough for our own Government to oppose the Death Penalty here and maintain an Abolitionist stance. They should as Representatives of free people work to end a human rights abuse that doesn't recognise borders. However nothing will remind us more of our success or failure as a nation in this regard if six young Australian's are allowed to be murdered by one of our nearest neighbours with.a single gun shot that May or may not kill instantly a young human life, full of potential...
Three-fourths of the country’s executions in America in 2011 took place in the South, with Texas and Alabama topping the list. Capital punishment is legal in thirty-four states and forbidden in sixteen. This year saw Illinois abolish the death penalty, becoming the fourth state in recent years to halt executions. And Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) recently declared a moratorium on the practice while he is in office.
By Ron Briggs, Los Angeles Times
February 12, 2012
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