Capital Punishment In America Research Paper

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English 102 8 September 2010 Exploring Capital Punishment in America Having grown up in a family of lawyers, I feel fairly confident in my knowledge of the American justice system. I have a vast understanding of how serious crimes are handled in a court of law and have witnessed several capital punishment trials in the state of California where I grew up. It is interesting to sit in a courtroom and listen to a Supreme Court judge ask the defendant whether or not he or she understands they are on trial for their life. Most of them appear stoic and void of life. On the other hand, it is difficult to watch the families of victims react to the gruesome photographs of crime scenes and listen to testimony from state witnesses describing…show more content…
This book explores the views of eight different men who have well-educated yet differing opinions on the issue. In this book I am drawn to the experiences of Alex Kazinski, a federal judge for the court of appeals. He discusses the case of a young man named Thomas Baal who brutally stabbed a thirty-four year old woman for money in 1988 (2-4). Kazinski states, “Whatever qualms I had about the efficacy or the morality of the death penalty were drowned out by the pitiful cries of the victims screaming from between the lines of a dry legal prose” (Bedau and Cassell 3). He goes on to explain how Mr. Baal refuses his right to appeal and instead expresses his wish to be put to death (Bedau and Cassell…show more content…
Although the author of this book is clearly against capital punishment, he explores all sides of the issue openly. After reading through this text I find it intriguing to examine the long term versus short term cost effects of the death penalty. Although, the cost of capital punishment is higher up front it is comparatively less expensive when compared to life in prison ( Costanzo states, “Capital cases are a nightmare for the entire justice system. Police chiefs recognize that death penalty cases are particularly burdensome in the early stages. Two-thirds of the police chiefs polled said that death penalty cases are hard to close and take up a lot of police time” (15). So in essence, the cost of man-power in capital cases is very high, however over time it costs millions less than keeping a criminal imprisoned for life. It is said that capital cases leading to the death penalty cost approximately sixty thousand dollars a year for six years while life imprisonment cases cost thirty-four thousand a year for around sixty years (Costanzo 15). Personally, I don’t want my hard earned tax money being used to keep a vicious criminal alive. It could be claimed that capital punishment is not only more cost-effective, but it is also a deterrent for criminals and can be used as a preventative measure

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