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Bria Payton

Ms. Sanchez
English IV
13 April 2015
Capital Punishment
According to the US death study, 4% of defendants that are sentenced to die are found
innocent. This number may seem small to some, but what if it was their family members or even
their ONLY family member? How would it make them feel about this? Today 38 of the nations
50 states (and the federal government) have the death penalty although in many of the death
penalty states actual executions are rare (Henderson 4). This proves that the 38 of the 50 states
that have capital punishment are wasting the money which could, actually, be used for funding
the education of kids in America, on the death penalty, when some of the executions are rare. It is
also argued that the death penalty is much more expensive than life imprisonment and thus
diverts scarce resources that could be used for fighting crimes and helping victims (Henderson
4). While the legal system is steady trying to put defendants away with capital punishment, they
could just sentence them to life in prison without parole and that would cost way less money than
trying to put them through capital punishment. Historically, opponents of capital punishment had
worked to eliminate the practice through the legislative repeal of death statutes (Henderson 11).
Eliminating capital punishment would cause less stress on the courts systems and wouldnt be so
much of a hassle. Capital punishment should not be administered in American society due to
great expense, non-uniformity in practice, and its barbaric nature.

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Capital Punishment is much more expensive than life imprisonment. Going through a
capital punishment case would cause the courts thousands and thousands of dollars, while just
sentencing them to life in prison would cost them one-third of the cost. Two attorneys will be
appointed for the defense, and a comparable team for the prosecution, compared to one in a nondeath penalty case (Henderson 23). Having two attorneys for a defense is too much and that
would be unnecessary. They should just do a regular trial where only there will be one attorney
for the defense and one for the prosecution. The trial will be longer: the cost study at Duke
University estimated that death penalty trials take 3 to 5 times longer than typical murder trials
(Henderson 23). Going to court for the same trial will get tiring and will cause more stress on the
attorney for the defense. Going through one trial will be more easier and having to keep going
back will be a waste of time and money for the government.
Dieter points out that while executing someone permanently ends the states expense for
dealing with that person, only about 10 percent of cases with a death sentence actually result in
execution--most are eventually overturned on appeal or converted to life sentences (Henderson
23). The state is clearly wasting money on the death penalty if only 10 percent of the cases are
actually result in an execution. If they would just sentence to them life to start off with, then they
would save a lot more money than going through a trial and it being overturned. Two trials
instead of one will be conducted: one for the guilt and one for punishment (Henderson 23). By
having just a basic murder case, they would only go through the trouble of having one trial
instead of two. Having two trials takes a lot of time and some people dont have that kind of
time, especially the jurors of that specific case.

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Non-uniformity creates inconsistency in practice. Opponents of capital punishment point

first to the fact that the death penalty is disproportionately imposed on the less advantage
members of society (Henderson 21). The death penalty is giving to people that really dont have
a say so in the society in which they live and it really isnt for the courts to have that right to put
them through that. The problem of the uneven distribution of justice becomes even more
pronounced in the case of racial minorities (Henderson 22). Everything that is happening in this
world today is based on race. It isnt all about race, religion, etc. Its about who should be
responsibility for the crime(s) committed and the right type of punishment that should given to
these criminals.
In some cases in which someone who was black was convicted of killing someone who
was white, the death penalty was given 22 percent of the time (Henderson 22). They feel like
blacks are more dangerous in the society and they should be put away but some dont even get
the full story. Most crimes dont occur around black people and it is somewhat racial profiling
that theyre doing this. Blacks in particular make up a much larger share of the death row
population (42 percent, as of 2005) than the percentage of the population as a whole (about 12
percent in 2005) (Henderson 22). This statistic show that blacks are more likely to get put on
death row, than any other race in the population as a whole. What about the white people or
hispanic people that commit crimes? Where do they go? They dont consider that any person can
be dangerous and could take the death penalty. They feel like blacks are more dangerous, but not
all are, and feel the need to put them to death and sentence the others to life imprisonment.
Before the 1970s, when the death penalty for rape was still used in many states, no white
men were executed for raping nonwhite women, whereas most black offenders found guilty of

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raping a white woman were executed (Funk & Wagnalls). All the facts that the government may
say, ties around blacks. Blacks arent as bad as some people say they are. They just want to have
a normal life just like everyone else. They see the negative in blacks, but no one ever sees the
good in them. Today a disproportionate number of nonwhites are sentenced to death and
executed in the U.S. (At the same time, women are rarely sentenced to death, even though 20
percent of all homicides in recent years have been committed by women) (Funk & Wagnalls).
Women act less in danger than men do and seeing them commit a homicide, is impossible.
Additionally, poor and friendless defendants must rely on court-appointed lawyers, who
are typically less experienced and often less diligent than counsel hired by a defendant are more
likely than others to be sentenced to death and executed (Funk & Wagnalls). It isnt fair for the
courts to sentence to poor and friendless to death if they dont have a professional taking on their
case. They have to have someone less experienced to take on their case and they dont even get
the chance to say if their right or wrong because their counsel dont know what their doing or
even have the knowledge to know. Opponents have argued that the death penalty is inherently
subject to caprice and mistake in practice and impossible to administer fairly (Funk & Wagnalls).
With everything going on in the court systems and the government, they can barely know if they
are doing their jobs right or even if the cases are going as planned. They can sometimes be
judged as unfair and misleading because of the lack of knowledge that some of the counsels
Capital punishment has no place in a society where we should look at rehabilitating
people instead of killing them. The infliction of death, the maintain, has no place in an
enlightened society Henderson 18). Many find it wrong to end ones life for a crime that was

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purposely or accidentally committed. It is alleged that capital punishment brutalizes a society

(Henderson 18). The execution of defendants have an imitation effect, where people actually
follow the example set by the state, after all, people feel if the government can kill its enemies,
so can they. In the view, use of the death penalty accustoms a society to violence, upholds
violence as a way to solve social problems, and hardens people to the suffering of others
(Henderson 18). Capital punishment is an easy way out for people who have murdered or
committed terrible crimes.
The death penalty has been inflicted in many ways now regarded as barbaric and
forbidden by law almost anywhere, including crucifixion, boiling in oil, drawing and quartering,
impalement, beheading, burning alive, crushing, tear asunder, stoning, and drowning (Funk &
Wagnalls). In most nations that still retain the death penalty for some crimes, hanging or the
firing squad are the preferred methods of execution. After all, a life sentence without parole is
also likely to produce anguish and psychological torture (Henderson 18). Life in prison without
the possibility of parole gives not chance for fulfillment outside in the society.
Many may argue that capital punishment should be made legal in every state and should
be used in all cases in which first degree murder was committed because it provides justice for
the victims family, it deters crimes, and prevents the prisoner from the chance of escaping/
restarting their life. In 1950, 82 felons were executed -- most of them had committed a homicide.
During that same year, there were 7,020 homicides that occurred and were reported. Ten years
later, there were only 56 executions that took place and the number of reported homicides rose to
9,140. Every homicide that took place, at least one of the murderers that committed the crime,
was execution and the number is steadily rising as of this statistic. Each execution deters an

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average of 18 murders, according to a 2003 nationwide study by professors at Emory University.

(Other studies have estimated the deterred murders per execution at three, five and 14) (Alfano).
Capital punishment should be illegal because contrary to supporters of capital punishment, it
brings expenses, non-uniformity in practice, and has a barbaric nature.
Driving Up The Costs: An Examination of the Brian Nichols Trial and The New Attack
on the Death Penalty by Dennis Brandon Wood is a story about how a death penalty case cost too
much and the government can barely pay for it. After a series of carjackings, a kidnapping, and
an extensive manhunt, Brian Nichols surrendered to the police. On March 11, 2005, a Fulton
County deputy escorted Brian Nichols to the courtroom. What happened next took everyone by
surprise. Allegedly, Brian Nichols managed to wrestle the deputys gun away from her. Shortly
thereafter, Nichols entered the courtroom and shot both the judge and the court reporter. Nichols
also shot a sheriffs deputy pursuing him. All three of the people shot died from their gunshot
wounds. the courthouse murders made Brian Nichols a high-profile defendant in the ensuing
The high costs of the Brian Nichols trial led to the diversion of funds that normally would
go to other defendants, evoking criticism of the financial structure of the public defenders
office. In October of 2007, the costs of defending Nichols had already reached 1.8 million
dollars. Although the costs may seem astronomical to some, if a defense lawyer invests large
amounts of time and money, paid for by the government, towards the defense of a capital
defendant, the lawyer should not be judged as unethical for fully utilizing the resources available
while seeking the best outcome for the client.

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According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, [t]he state has paid Nichols lawyers
almost $2 million for fees and expenses. The large amount of spending led to criticism from the
state legislature. In response to the criticism and to the budget concerns, the Council has
removed two of the five lawyers off the case to alleviate budget problems. The Council argued
that it did this so that the trial could proceed after it had been stalled five times for lack of
monetary resources. The annual budget for the Council is only four million dollars. This means
that Nichols case alone has cost the Council almost half of the budget for the entire year. This
resulted in nearly 80 other death penalty cases [grinding] to halt.
The American Bar Association (ABA) in one study concluded that state governments
should assume responsibility for providing indigent defense services in criminal and juvenile
proceedings. Under the ABAs and the NLADAs reasoning, the spending in the Nichols case
would not be out of control. Indeed, the prosecution have already spent $5 million trying the
case. Following the ABAs parity in spending argument, the Nichols defense has another $3
million to utilize on Nichols behalf before they have overspent. In defense of the spending, the
presiding judge in the Nichols trial, Judge Fuller, wrote that decisions made by the prosecutor
attributed to the large costs of the Nichols defense. Instead, the judge argued that the prosecutors
decision affected the complexity of the case and that these decisions were partially to blame for
the high costs associated with the case. In October of 2007, Judge Fuller halted the trial until the
Council received more money from the state. This happened after the Council decided not to
give any more money to the Nichols defense. Lawyers involved and not involved with the
Nichols case have alluded that the verdict might be overturn if the defense is not paid. If that is

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the outcome, the state Georgia will have paid nearly $7 million for a trial that may accomplish
This story shows that it takes a lot of money for the government to try to death penalty
case, when they could actually save that money for something else. No trial should ever go
through that much time and that much money just on a case. Sentencing Nichols to death
wouldve went so much smoother and easier than it went. It caused the judge and the attorneys to
go through so much stress. Nichols was wrong for what he did in the courtroom and he should be
sentenced to life in prison without parole. A simple capital punishment case can cause the
government to go into debt and if that happens, then they will lose their minds and be in big
trouble. Some Court decisions in the 1980s and 90s lowered bars to executions. In 1986 the
Court ruled that opponents of executions may be barred from juries in murder cases (Funk &
Wagnalls). Concerns about fairness and due process in the handling of death penalty cases,
including the poor quality of legal representation received by many death-row inmates, led the
American Bar Association in 1997 to call for a nationwide moratorium on capital punishment
(Funk & Wagnalls). Instead of dedicating scarce resources to executing a relative handful of
prisoners, it would be more worthwhile to sentence capital offenders to long prison terms and use
the money saved to fully fund efforts such as victim-assistance programs (Henderson 24). the
victims families should get the money instead of using on the Nichols trial. They shoul djust
sentence him to life and save the money. The extensive use of the death penalty and the brutal
manner in which is was administered were denounced by such leading thinkers as the French
philosophers Montesquieu and Voltaire (Henderson 7).

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In the 21st century, capital punishment has no place in society due to its high expense,
lack of uniformity in practice, and its brutal nature. The death penalty is much more expensive
than life imprisonment. Non-uniformity creates inconsistency in practice. Capital punishment has
no place in society where we should look at rehabilitating people instead of killing them. Capital
punishment does not bring back the life of a victim that was murdered by the one on death row. I
dont think that no one should ever be put to death by an injection, gas or even electricity
because anything could possibly go wrong and that would be a waste money and the government
does not have a lot of that. Sentencing them to life in prison without parole would be better
because it takes less time and less money than a death penalty case. Lastly, we are a civilized
society and we should move past an eye for an eye and life mentality. Who are we to judge
between who lives or who dies or even to play God?