December 12, 1984, the first jolt failed to kill Alpha Otis Stephens, he struggled for eight minutes before a second jolt finished the job. The first jolt took two minutes, and then there was a six-minute pause. During this six-minute pause body could cool before physicians could examine him and declare that another jolt was needed. Stephens took 23 breaths, during that six-minute interval. Such incidents prove that the death penalty constitutes cruel and unusual punishment and should be replaced by life in prison. The following reasons prove that the death penalty harms rather than helps any quest for a just, humane society.
The Bible requires the death penalty for a wide variety of crimes, including sex before marriage, adultery, and homosexual behavior, doing work on Saturday and murder.Somehow people became more tolerant; they eliminated the death penalty for several sins. Sins such as the following:
People might as well eliminate the death penalty for murder as well. In fact, according to the Bible an individual who dies without being “saved” (during an execution) will go to Hell for eternal punishment. By killing the person, we are eliminating some individuals’ chance for salvation. Human life has intrinsic value, even if a person has murdered another. Nobody should ever be killed, even by the state.
Moreover, human beings such as the poor, males, and racial minorities are over-represented among those executed. A study of over 2 dozen convicted criminals on death row found that all had been so seriously abused during childhood that they probably all suffered from brain damage. To further this subject, women convicted of murder are almost never executed. For instance, in March 1998 Judy Beenano aged 54 in Florida, was called the “Black Widow” for poisoning her husband, drowning her son and trying to blow up her fianc. She was the first woman to be executed in Florida since 1848. It seems that the death penalty is reserved for men. 1986 study in Georgia showed that persons who killed “whites were four times more likely to be sentenced to death than convicted killers of non-whites.”
Even so, many convicted murderers are later found innocent, and have been pardoned. Is impossible to pardon a corpse? In 1987, a study published by the Stanford Law Review found at least 350 people between 1900 and 1985 in America were innocent of the crime for which they were convicted, and could have been sentenced to death. 139 “were sentenced to death and as many as 23 were executed.”
Finally, Many people feel that the death penalty will deter criminals from killing. Yet, the death penalty has not been shown to be effective in the reduction of the homicide rate. Does the death penalty deter homicides? People murder for various reasons and under many different situations:
– during domestic disputes, when passions are inflamed
– Under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, when the individual is not in rational control.
– Hit men murdering doing contract killings; they typically never expect to be arrested.
– psychopaths and other mentally ill individuals who have little regard for human life and who cannot accept responsibility for their actions
– self-destructive individuals who believe that they deserve to die and want to be arrested and executed
– brain-damaged individuals, who experience periods of rage, and occasionally kill
With the exception of professional hit men, very few people are in a rational frame of mind when they kill others. It may be hopeless to expect any form of punishment to act as a deterrent.
In summary, the death penalty constitutes cruel and unusual punishment and should therefore be replaced by life in prison for the reasons of the Bible, sending a person to hell, value of human life, unfairness, chance of error, and lack of deterrence. Nobody knows how quickly a person dies from the electric shock, or what they experience. The ACLU describes two cases where prisoners apparently lived for 4 to 10 minutes before expiring. If 4 to 10 minutes is not considered cruel and unusual then what will be next? Will the execution of children and the mentally ill be next?