Should the Death Penalty Stay Alive?

Chika Ojukwu (Keep the Death Penalty) and Zirwa Kainat (Do Away With the Death Penalty)

California Proposition 34 came before the voters on Tuesday, November 6th, 2012 and failed 47.2% “Yes” to 52.8% “No” thus keeping the ruling of the death penalty a possibility in California courts. The following arguments are presented debating whether the death penalty should be allowed.

Keep the Death Penalty Alive

Chika Ojukwu

Sports Editor

“May the punishment fit the crime” is an ideal notion that perfectly supports the application of the death penalty in our justice system. If an individual rapes and kills twenty people then he certainly deserves death penalty. Numerous preeminent and credible arguments are put forth that justify the implementation of the death penalty in the system.

Capital punishment is placed upon a person who is capable of committing premeditated, cold-blooded murder. Opponents of the death penalty maintain that criminals placed on death row are better off in jail for a long period of time. They argue that the death penalty is inhumane and cruel. However, sentencing someone to life in prison cuts off their interaction from society and essentially prolongs any mental suffering they may have. The death penalty could be quite merciful for many inmates.

Also, the death penalty eradicates any possibility of escape or parole, and because this should be most certainly prevented at all costs, the death penalty is the only solution to erase this possibility. The enforcement of the death penalty advocates the removal of threats to society. Furthermore, the cruel and unusual punishment clause of the Constitution does not apply because the punishment is not cruel or unusual in comparison to the act.

One’s punishment should match their crimes; therefore, the death penalty is justified in many cases. If you kill someone then, by extension, the punishment of death is not a cruel punishment, because it is of the same caliber of your crime. Indeed, capital punishment should be reserved for the most nefarious crimes.  Life without the possibility of parole does not always mean that the criminal will spend life in jail.

For example, Lisa Connelly, one of the seven people responsible for the 1993 Florida murder of Bobby Kent, was able to reduce her sentence of life in prison to 22 years upon appeal. In 2004, Connelly was released. Also, the possibility remains that those released prisoners may continue to kill. One argument against the death penalty is that it is more expensive to kill an inmate rather than keep him/her alive. While this is true, studies show that in the long run the cost to keep an inmate alive and the costs to allow them to appeal can equal, and surpass in some cases, the cost it takes to place them in death row. Often, the death penalty is the most reasonable punitive tactic to employ in a case.

Additionally, the existence of the death penalty serves as a form of retribution to the victim’s families. Neglecting previously stated counterarguments such as the financial cost of executing a criminal, the legal obligations to rid society of a monstrous lawbreaker, and the legal aspects of capital punishment, the most important factor is the victim – the person who was harmed. They and their families deserve justice, as the desire for justice is an inherent quality in many individuals.

Any place that imposes the death penalty is essentially a cornerstone of justice.

 

Death to the Death Penalty

Zirwa Kainat

 Business Manager

Two wrongs do not make a right. The death penalty was created to kill those who murdered innocent lives. With the death penalty, we are just limiting ourselves to one option – death. We spent around $4 billion on this law in just California, which is too much money to be spending on murderers to have them killed. Only thirteen death row prisoners have been executed, the most recent of whom was killed in 2006, revealing just how much money we are wasting on this system.

Vicky Wu (12) stated, “I believe that we should cancel the death penalty. It is an unjustified mean of punishment. The death penalty is also… a major source of spending for the state.” Wu is correct; the death penalty is unfair and harsh. There are several cases where innocent men receive the death penalty, only to later be proven innocent.

There are many other alternatives that can be put in place of death penalty. If Proposition 34 passes, it would put in place life in prison as the new maximum sentence in California. If a murderer killed someone then killing the murderer is not going to teach them a lesson, instead they should be forced to contemplate their deeds their entire life in prison. Life in prison is a worse punishment and a more effective deterrent. Nowhere in our constitution does it state that it is just or right to end a person’s life if they have murdered someone. As a matter of fact, agreeing with the death penalty will be going against the Declaration of Independence’s preservation of “life, liberty, and property.”

With the death penalty, we are killing two people in one period of time — an immoral deed. The death penalty does not guarantee a safe state without murderers, as there will always be criminals around. We should eliminate the death penalty for the better of human society, and pass Proposition 34.