Essay Criminal Justice and the Death Penalty
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A discussion on whether capital punishment can be considered criminal justice.
This paper examines how the use and application of the death penalty has been an issue of examination and discussion by other countries and the international community, as well as the United States, in recent years. It looks at how the United States has not only retained, but expanded its options for using the death penalty, particularly by increasing the number of crimes for which it can be used and by reducing the legal challenges inmates facing the death penalty can use. It puts forward the argument that the process for giving a death sentence as punishment for crimes in the United States is significantly flawed and should be suspended unless and until we, as a country, can demonstrate that it will be applied fairly, equitably, and that no innocent persons will be put to death for crimes they did not commit.
“One example is a woman in Alabama who hired someone to kill her husband after years of physical abuse against both her and her children. She was sentenced to death, but critics report that her court-appointed lawyer came to court so drunk one day that he was put in jail for a day for contempt of court. Her lawyer also either did not find or did not submit the hospital records documenting the violent abuse and injuries. While he did obtain an expert on domestic abuse, it was at the last minute, and the expert had little time to talk to the defendant before his testimony the next day (Bright, 1994). With a more competent lawyer it seems at least possible that she would not have received a sentence of death.”