Capital Punishment

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's February 2008

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Many Supreme Court rulings point out that the death penalty requires very high levels of procedural safeguards before it can be imposed, meaning, in practice, years spent on complex and expensive appeals in various state and federal courts. In contrast, life sentences without the possibility of parole are much less complex and rarely appealed beyond the state level (National, 1998). Currently, 3,387 men and women reside on death row, more than a third of them in California, Florida and Texas. A death penalty case in these three states costs taxpayers an average of $5.28, $3.2, and $2.3 million respectively. This money is spent at the expense of the corrections department and crime prevention programs, which are already short of money (Harold, 1998). If Congress does decide to shorten the appeals process of capital punishment cases, more than just one in seven innocent people will be executed. Supreme Court rulings point out that the death penalty requires very high levels of procedural safeguards before it can be imposed because of the finality of the act.

However, due to pressure from the public and media, prosecutors and the police are willing to convict innocent people. For instance, according to a public agenda, which targeted peoples concerns, more Americans trust police than the criminal justice system (Public Agenda.org).



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