The Death Penalty’s Decline and the Discovery of Innocence 2008, Cambridge University Press. The book assesses the drop in murder cases in America as a result of increased recognition of the death penalty. Americans have been viewed as only endorsing the death penalty in principle, implying that it is past time for things to change. The book further examines the deaths in the process, as well as the media attention and public sentiment that has resulted in a substantial reduction in murder cases. Social cascades emanating from innocent projects and legal clinics have been portrayed as snowballing into a phenomenon that might bring death penalty in America to an end.
Bedau, Hugo Adam. The Death Penalty in America. Oxford University Press, 1998.The book presents the current controversies facing the death penalty in the United States. The author is one of the scholars who has been making a follow-up on the issue and therefore brings informative and fascinating facts on the table. The book clearly presents facts for and against the death penalty through bringing together of 40 essays and documenting an updated statistics and research data on the capital punishment.The status of the death penalty and the present attitudes of the American people has been presented with the legal arguments challenging the penalty being clearly portrayed. The ideas of televising the execution as a form of deterrence have also been presented.
Dix, George E. “Administration of the Texas Death Penalty Statutes: Constitutional Infirmities Related to the Prediction of Dangerousness.” Tex. L. Rev. 55 (1976): 134-139.In this scholarly article the author scrutinizes capital punishment on whether an offender should live or die. The main point of focus is whether an offender is dangerous in the society. The author also looks at the immediate significance of the Texas procedure in the 8th and the 14th amendment. A conclusion that the Texas’ practice violates these two amendments is arrived at.
Herskovitz, Jon. “Time Almost up for Inmate on Texas Death Row for 3 Decades”. The Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/02/lester-bower-execution_n_7494738.html. Accessed 27 February 2017.The website has a story of Lester Bower who was one of the longest individuals on a death row. He had been wrongly convicted of the murder of four people in 1983, having spent more than 30 years in trying to appeal his capital punishment. This article reveals the flaws present in the capital punishment and the best measures that ought to be taken to ensure that rulings are as fair as possible.
Marquart, James W., Sheldon Ekland-Olson, and Jonathan R. Sorensen. The rope, the chair, and the needle: Capital punishment in Texas, 1923-1990. University of Texas Press, 1998.The book examines the historical administration of the death penalty in Texas using an anecdotal and statistical viewpoint. James argues that the rate of execution in Texas is associated with the cultural tradition of execution particularly in the southern states. An inverse relation between the lynchings and the number of execution is also established, something that continues to dehumanize certain groups in the society.
Mocan, H. Naci, and R. Kaj Gittings. “Getting Off Death Row: Commuted Sentences and the Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment.” The Journal of Law and Economics 46.2 (2003):453-478. This journal article successfully merges the data set at the state level that entails deterrence, crime and other aspects linked to the death sentence in the US between 1977 and 1997. The months of the year with executions or the suspension of a death row are related to the level of criminal activity at the state level. A conclusion that each additional execution reduces homicides by 5% is arrived at.
Revocation of Death Penalty in Texas
The death penalty is one of the most debatable issues in the American criminal justice system. The death, in this case, is lawfully inflicted and has been in place for since 1608 where rapists besides murderers were included. This form of punishment has been critical in curtailing future murder cases and by so doing, many lives will be saved. The punishment has been acting as a form of deterrence for many years, and the arguments against it do not add up. The chances of murdering innocent lives are minute although there should be sufficient reasons and proof before carrying out an execution (Herskovitz). There was 1359 execution in the United States between January 1977 and December 2013 with the lethal injection being the commonly used method (Marquart et al. 13). Hanging, shooting, electrocution and the use of the gas chamber are also alternatives although they are not commonly used. The majority of the executions happen in the southern states with Texas being one of the leading with 422 deaths in 2008 homicide (Mocan and Kaj 463). All these methods of facing out the non-conformists groups and murderers in the society are effective and should, therefore, be favored.
For laws to deal with murderers should not be lenient. If the death penalty is not imposed on murderers in Texas or any other state, they are likely to expect serving an imprisonment and get out in approximately ten years. In this scenario, the culprits will not fear death and are likely to engage in a similar crime for being a jailbird is not a problem for them. There have been a number of reported cases where murderers intentionally relocated to a non-death penalty state just to get away without facing death. Texas has been carrying out executions that cannot be compared to any other state and is evident that it is an effective deterrent measure. Between 1980 and 2000, Texas had a total of 41 783 murders with 2 302 people dying of homicide (Mocan & Kaj 453-478). This was at a rate of 16.88 in every 100 000 people. In 2000, reported murder cases dropped to 1 238, a rate of 5.94 which was close to the national rate of 5.511 in every 100 000 people homicide (Mocan and Kaj 445). A study on execution, done by Raymond Teske, and Duke University sociologists Hui Zheng and Kenneth Land revealed that the rate of murder cases dropped to between 0.5 and 2.5 following the decision to continue with the executions (Bedau 57). The American society of criminology reported a short-term reduction in the number of murder cases during and after the month of carrying out the capital punishment. It is shocking that the big numbers featuring in the statistics represent the death of real people and it is, therefore, worth appreciating the role that the death penalty has had. Because the Texans perceive execution as a form of a real outcome when one has been convicted of the first degree of murder, the message can, therefore, be regarded as getting through in an effective manner.
Execution in Texas is a real form of punishment and does not assume the path of rehabilitative treatment that criminals are subjected to which are disproportionate to the offenses committed. The concept of retribution has been favoring the capital punishment. Families of murder victims witnessing their loved one losing their lives may consider the state as being an agent of murder. This is one of the arguments brought up by anti-capital punishment campaigners who misquotes Gandhi’s words that an eye for an eye will make the world go blind (Baumgartner 24). Although the maxim has an element of truth in it, there is a presumption that many in the population commit murder. In a population of approximately 106 million, roughly 15 200 people carry out murder, a negligible percentage of 0.4% (Bedau 62). Thus the majority 99.6% do not commit murder and that the concept of an eye for an eye is effective in significantly reducing the number of societal misfits who take away the lives of others.
The death penalty is also a fair treatment when basing the argument on the sacred of life. It is true that life is sacred and God-given and that there should be no time that one should terminate it. However, the death penalty is a form of a negative sanction directed to crimes that are committed against violations of the right to life, safety and the freedom of victims. It is just and right for individuals to live in a peaceful manner and be free from any form of harm. However, it is unfortunate that people commit crimes like murder, rape, and assault without a regard to the right of property and life. As a result of violating other peoples’ lives, it is fair if the perpetrators are brought to justice through subjecting them to the fate they deserve. Those in support of capital punishment in Texas, as well as other states talk of the free will wherein persons, are given the right to do things on their volition. For this reason, people should always hold themselves responsible for their fate.
The death penalty in Texas has also being a less costly process compared to imprisoning culprits for life without parole. Despite the expenses that the government incurs in the imposition of the capital punishment, it is always cheaper, and it’s a high time that the anti-death penalty supporters reevaluate this. The cost in the life imprisonment has always being accumulatively higher when considering costs such as health care and food for sustaining incarcerated individuals (Dix 136). The money can be channeled to other activities such as taking care of the elderly and the sick. These are facts that other states should consider before vehemently opposing the form of punishment which is proven to be effective elsewhere.
Conclusively, the issue of capital punishment has been heavily debated basing facts on its pros and cons. However, a proper weighing of the argument and the empathy for those whose lives have been taken away will make one favor the capital punishment. Most people in the US are for the punishment; thus, more states should enforce it to low the murder cases. Murderers in Texas should thus be executed in their first crime to reduce the chances of coming out of prison and committing another crime. Stricter laws to discourage the potential perpetrators should be imposed to ensure that the population is conforming. Besides, there is the death to impose swift death penalties which should be after a thorough investigation to screen out the innocent suspects. This will be an effective method of dealing with a form of crime that has been proven to be difficult in dealing with for a long period.
Baumgartner, Frank R., Suzanna L. De Boef, and Amber E. Boydstun. The Decline of the Death Penalty and the Discovery of Innocence. Cambridge University Press, 2008.
Bedau, Hugo Adam. The Death Penalty in America. Oxford University Press, 1998.
Dix, George E. “Administration of the Texas Death Penalty Statutes: Constitutional Infirmities Related to the Prediction of Dangerousness.” Tex. L. Rev. 55 (1976): 134-139.
Herskovitz, Jon. “Time Almost up for Inmate on Texas Death Row for 3 Decades”. The Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/02/lester-bower-execution_n_7494738.html. Accessed 27 February 2017.
Marquart, James W., Sheldon Ekland-Olson, and Jonathan R. Sorensen. The rope, the chair, and the needle: Capital punishment in Texas, 1923-1990. University of Texas Press, 1998.
Mocan, H. Naci, and R. Kaj Gittings. “Getting Off Death Row: Commuted Sentences and the Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment.” The Journal of Law and Economics 46.2 (2003):453-478.