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Evaluating the debate over capital punishment

Evaluating the debate over capital punishment - The...

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Evaluating the debate over capital punishment A substantial body of empirical studies shows that the administration of capital punishment is  arbitrary, that the costs of trials and multiple appeals make the death penalty more expensive than  housing an offender in prison for life, that the death penalty does not deter violent crime, and that  during the twentieth century more than 400 people were erroneously convicted in capital cases. Although the Supreme Court denied the racial discrimination argument in  McCleskey v. Kemp statistical evidence supports the claim that the burden of capital punishment falls upon the poor and  the underprivileged. Studies show that a disproportionate number of individuals sentenced to death  are members of minority groups and that nearly all individuals on death row are indigents. 
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Unformatted text preview: The argument that the death penalty should be retained because the majority of the people in the United States want it, equates the numbers in support of a position with the correctness of it. The rightness or wrongness of the death penalty logically is neither helped nor hindered by the numbers in support. Opinions don't logically equate to factual knowledge. Deciding whether or not society has a moral right to take the lives of murderers and other violent criminals requires a value judgment. In support of their position, proponents of the death penalty cite the Judeo-Christian tradition of “eye for eye, tooth for tooth.” Opponents counter by emphasizing New Testament admonitions to “turn the other cheek” and “to love thy neighbor.”...
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