The death penalty is something about which many people do not have a clear opinion. It is considered to be the punishment of execution, administered to someone convicted of a capital crime. Many people support the death penalty, while others wish for the death penalty to be abolished. My personal opinion on the death penalty is that it should be administered only in cases of certain crimes such as: serial murder, serial rape, and terrorism. Groups that support the death penalty often say that it deters criminals from committing future crimes like murders or other heinous crimes.
On the contrary, many criminals do not think of the consequences of their actions when they are committing a crime, nor do they care what happens to them after the crime has been committed. Amnesty International, which opposes the death penalty, reports that, “Scientific studies have not produced any conclusive evidence showing that capital punishment is a deterrent for future crimes to be committed. ” Nevertheless, the only deterrent for a murderer to not commit another heinous or viscous crime again would be execution by lethal injection, or by the way the victim died (The Innocence Project).
Various people who are opposed to the death penalty also say that capital punishment sometimes condemns the innocent to die. According to Amendment five in the United States Bill of Rights, “No person shall be held to answer for a capital crime, or otherwise infamous crime unless on a presentment of an indictment of a grand jury”, except in military cases. Even though it is true that a few innocent people have “slipped through the cracks” of the justice system, and had been convicted and executed unfairly, it is extremely unlikely that this type of predicament would happen.
By the time that all appeals are exhausted, it is most likely that the attorneys will find new evidence to support alleged criminals innocence from examining the case over and over again. Its adversaries have called capital punishment cruel and unusual, but many people in this society disagree. According to Amendment five in the United States Bill of Rights, “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” (The Innocence Project).
Even with this amendment in place many people question the constitutionality of capital punishment because of Amendment eight which states, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted” (The Innocence Project). The question has arisen concerning the morality of capital punishment. From the Christian perspective, the Bible should be looked to for answers on the morality of capital punishment. God instituted capital punishment in the book of Leviticus 24:17 and Leviticus 24:20-21.
Verse seventeen of Leviticus twenty four says, “And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death” (The English Standard Version Bible). Verses twenty and twenty one of Leviticus twenty four say, “Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again” (The English Standard Version Bible). “And he that killeth a beast, he shall restore it: and he that killeth a man, he shall be put to death” (The English Standard Version Bible). The bias of the American as well as International judicial systems is a major cause of worry regarding capital punishment.
Amendment six in the United States Bill of Rights states, “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed” (The English Standard Version Bible). Christians say that they should obey the government no matter what their decision may be, unless it goes against the Bible. God instituted the judicial system to provide fair punishments for crimes. Romans 13:1 says “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.
For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God” (The English Standard Version Bible). This verse tells people that the government has the authority to instigate capital punishment if they feel it is necessary, and they should comply with their decision. Many are disturbed by the execution of mentally challenged or incompetent criminals. The U. S Supreme Court on June 20, 2002 declared that the execution of the mentally challenged is unconstitutional, as well as cruel and unusual punishment. The “criminal” is usually pardoned when further evidence comes out.
An incident of this happening is the case of David Vasquez. David Vasquez was arrested for the murder of a woman who was killed in her Arlington County, Virginia home. She was sexually assaulted and then hung. Vasquez, who was borderline mentally retarded, had reportedly confessed to the crime, allegedly supplying details not released to the public. Additionally, Vasquez could not provide an alibi and was placed near the scene of the crime by two eyewitnesses. Investigators also found pubic hairs that visually resembled those of Vasquez.
Vasquez’s attorneys argued that the interrogations were tainted because of his lower than normal intelligence. Friends said that he reacts to the world like a young child and that he is easily flustered under pressure. He was described in court as having “borderline retarded/low normal” intelligence. He was so scared of being executed that he pled guilty to a crime he did not commit. Because of this “confession,” David Vasquez spent five years in prison before he was pardoned. DNA testing was performed on evidence collected from other crimes where the perpetrator used the same methods used in the murder for which Vasquez was convicted.
Testing led to a man convicted for two other rape/murders. The prosecution joined with defense attorneys to secure a pardon for Vasquez, which was granted in 1989 (The Innocence Project). I support the death penalty in special cases, and I believe also that the guilt of the criminal should be proved beyond the shadow of a doubt, which is the constitutional way of life.
The English Standard Version Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments with Apocrypha. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. Print.