Death Penalty Social Issue

Anyone who has lost a relative due to a murder crime or who has suffered pain at the hands of kidnappers and rapists understands the significance of the death penalty. The concept of punishing legal offenders with legal penalties has been controversial, particularly on moral grounds. Some argue for the death penalty, while others believe it should be abolished. The criminal justice system is facing various obstacles, and ethical norms must be applied to aid enhance performance. Troy Greg was charged with armed robbery and murder in the Greg V. Georgia (614) case. Such a case warrants the death penalty because it was carried out on purpose, resulting in the deaths of the victims. Dealing with criminals may be a challenging task especially deciding the best punishment for the crime committed. Sometimes criminals may be treated unjustly leading to violation of human rights and pain on the people prosecuted. Consequently, there must be moral principles that are followed to ensure that the type of punishment on criminals is not unjustified or is not discriminative. However, use of theories such as Retributive and Unitarianism may offer some guidance to the jury when deciding to pass judgment to the accused such as death penalty.
According to Unitarianism the "actions, institutions, and social policies have moral justifications since they play a role in promoting the wellbeing of the people compared to other decisions (Bradt 237). Brandt argues in support of application of the Unitarianism when dealing with criminals and feels that other retributive theories should never apply in the criminal justice system. This theory suggests that laws that forbid some kinds of behavior should guide every action taken by the justice system and ensures adequate machinery that allows fair enforcement (Brandt 239). Since punishment is evil, it should be avoided as much as possible for the public good. The retributive theory argues that a wrong doer should always receive punishment that corresponds to the magnitude of the offence committed or the arm caused to the victims (Brandt 319. According to this principle, it is quite ethical to inflict pain or loss to individuals who commit crime with a severity that corresponds with the moral gravity of the action. The main objective of the law is to punish the moral guilt for both attempted and successful criminal offences. As long as one deviates from the norms of the society, he/she should face punishment similar to the offence committed. If a person is morally blameless, the laws should ensure that he/she is not punished. However, this may not hold a lot of sense since the laws must set up standards of conduct and behavior and ensure that everybody conforms whether they have conviction of the desirability of the standards or not. The laws must also be in control of some societal norms such as banning polygamy and everyone must obey the set laws (Bradt 323). Retributive theory therefore, argues that punishment is justified since doing wrong merits punishment and anyone who behaves contrary to the set laws should be punished in proportion to his/her actions (Raw 3). For this case, I support the retributive theory of punishing wrongdoers in proportion to their wrongdoings and support death penalty.
It is ethical for someone who engages in an unlawful act to suffer punishment to ensure that a similar action is not repeated as long as the correct justice procedure is followed. According to Pincoffs (1), the judicial punishment should not be administered to promote another good to the society. Punishment must be imposed since the person has violated a law. In this case, if one commits a crime that calls for death penalty he/she should face the law with no further considerations. However, the judicial system must not discriminate against the criminals in terms of race, gender, class, or other social factors. The law must be applied equally to ensure that those that commit atrocities calling for punishment by death penalty are not spared. The greatest concern is that the individual has committed a crime and violated a law such as robbery with violence and it is acceptable to punish such a person. If the punishment is equal to the degree of the crime committed, there is no problem with ensuring that criminals receive their share of judicial judgment. According to Beddau (238), death penalty may be used to deter crime through incapacitation or intimidation of people who would want to commit a capital offence punishable through death such as robbery with violence. The benefits from capital punishment to criminals outweigh the one from allowing the criminal to live on grounds that they have a "right to life". When a capital offender is put to death by the judicial system crimes are likely to reduce since the person will not be alive to carry out another crime. However, if spared he/she may recruit more gangs and continue causing harm to the society. According to the retributive theory, all crimes should be punished depending on the gravity of the offense and moral laws should not prevent criminals from facing the law including punishment by death (Beddau 239). However, the law should limit the number of crimes punishable by death such that it does not execute minor ones such as embezzlement of public funds. However, actions such as rape, murder, and robbery with violence should be considered capital crimes and perpetrators should be heavily punished. For instance, Europe has limited the number of crimes punishable by the law such as the type of homicides punishable by death (Beddau 243). The defendant lawyer may argue that the client carried out murder for self-defense and this may be different from murder carried out intentionally.
Death penalty is justified since justice requires punishing the guilty and ensuring that the innocent are set free. This means that death penalties should be applied equally without favoring any individual for moral reasons. For instance, men and women should face the law equally such that if a man and a woman commit a criminal offence punishable by death, the two should be given equal judgment. If the death penalty is morally right then it should be upheld for the benefit of the society. Any execution of innocent citizens believed to be guilty is considered as an injustice and should never be allowed as Van Den Haag (837) argues. However, this may not warrant abolition of death penalty to guilt individuals unless it is proved beyond reasonable doubt that they did not intend to commit the crime. For instance, death of bystanders during a police shootout should not be used to execute a police officer's since the murder was not intentional. However, if a police officer shoots and kills people such as in a bar intentionally, he/she is considered guilty as charged and should face a capital punishment such as death. Penalties that are more severe should be imposed on crimes considered severe. Thus, the severest crime, the death penalty would deter crime and should be applied to offences considered capital such as homicides, rape, and others. However, death should only be reserved for the ultimate crimes since it is considered as an ultimate offence according to Van Den Haag (838). Capital punishment for murder crimes through death is justified since any punishment should be proportional to the crime committed.
Capital penalties are justified but discrimination such as racial bias in sentencing should be avoided. Death penalty can only serve the purpose of deterring crime if applied equally across all races, gender, and class without show of favoritism. According to some studies, black Americans have a higher likelihood of receiving death penalties compared to the white Americans after committing the same offense (McCleskey V. Kemp 336). Again, persons that murder the whites are more likely to face execution than those that kill the African Americans such as it was noted in the McCleskey vs Kemp case (336). Although, the accused had committed a murder crime, he decided to defend himself by evaluating earlier judgments and outcomes involving murders of African Americans and the white Americans. If capital punishment is unjustly administered to an offender then it loses its purpose of crime deterrence and is considered a form of discrimination. All offenders whether black or white Americans must face the law equally and fair judgment must be passed. According to DPIC (2010), 35 percent of the defendants executed for murder cases were blacks revealing disparities in passing judgment. In this case, the capital punishment loses its purpose of deterring crime and becomes a ground for racial discrimination. The justice system has a big role to play in ensuring that criminals face the law and are punished according to their offences. If one commits crime, punishment should be given depending on the offence created especially if it involves acts such as homicides.
Unitarian and retributive theories may be useful in determining whether capital punishment should be imposed on offenders or not. The former argues for an action that results to a common good of the people involved in a crime incident while the latter asserts that the law must be applied to punish moral guilt. Capital punishment such as death sentencing are common in many countries as a way of deterring crime. In this case, offenders should face the law and face charges depending on the amount of crime committed including death penalty if found guilty. This can deter crime since even individuals that cause harm to others due to anger can find time to think before acting if they are aware that a grave penalty awaits them. It is ethical for an individual who engages in an unlawful act to be punished to make sure that a similar action is not repeated although the correct justice procedure must be followed. Death penalty is justified because justice requires punishing the guilty and making sure that the innocent are set free. In addition, capital penalties are justified although discrimination such as racial bias in sentencing should be avoided in every justice system. Since retribution theory argues for punishing criminals depending on the crime committed, death penalties should be imposed on criminals charged with capital crimes such as murder.

Works Cited
Bedau, Hugo Adam, and Chester M. Pierce, Eds. Capital Punishment in the United States.
Brandt, Richard B. Morality, Utilitarianism, and Rights. Cambridge University Press, 1992.
DPIC. Death Penalty Information Center. Facts about the Death Penalty. 2010
Greg V. Georgia United States Supreme Court (1996).
Haag, E. V. D. "In Defense of the Death Penalty: A Legal-Practical-Moral Analysis." Crim. L. Bull. 14 (1978): 51.
Mcclesky V. Kemp, 107 S. Ct. 1756 Racial Bias in Sentencing. (1987).
Pincoffs, Edmund L. "Classical Retributivism." Morality in Practice (1966).
Rawls, John. "Two Concepts of Rules." The Philosophical Review 64.1 (1955): 3-32.

Deadline is approaching?

Wait no more. Let us write you an essay from scratch

Receive Paper In 3 Hours
Calculate the Price
275 words
First order 15%
Total Price:
$38.07 $38.07
Calculating ellipsis
Hire an expert
This discount is valid only for orders of new customer and with the total more than 25$
This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Find Out the Cost of Your Paper

Get Price