My Position: Death Penalty Should Be Allowed, but with Strict Requirements.

A Poll:

So, just to get things started, I want to see where all of you are at on the death penalty at the beginning of this project.
How do you feel about the death penalty?
I agree with it.
I disagree with it.
It depends on the case.
I'm on the fence.
Create your own poll with LearnMyself

Assignment #1: My View of This Project.

So, first off, I just wanted to tell you guys that I'm planning on going into Criminal Justice at HVCC after this year. I took the elective here last semester, and my teacher brought up the idea of capital punishment, and the idea has kind of just stuck in my head. I'm not really sure where I stand on the issue right now, but I know that it's definitely something that needs to be talked about. I feel like most teenagers don't really get involved in this topic because it doesn't affect us at all.

I'm going to change that.

Throughout this blog, I've made it my mission to bring the death penalty to you, and see what you think about it. Because it's important. We're turning 18 (some of us already are). We're graduating. We're going out into a world where a difference needs to be made, and they're looking to us to do it.

So this is where I come in. I'm going to take this project and run with it. I'm going to do the research, and find information, first to decide what side I'm on, and maybe some of that will transfer on to all of you reading this, and I hope it does.


Assignment #2: The Death Penalty and Connecticut.

(They're right next door, maybe they have the right idea, and we can run with it.)
Conn. Pushes the Repeal of the Death Penalty.
I think this article is very true to the controversy of the death penalty. The decision to not have the vote in the Senate the year previous is only the first example of each case being different. With the two people from the 2007 home invasion, I think it was a little hypocritical, but with how much damage they caused to the family, only the father survived, while his wife and two daughters were murdered, it almost constitutes them being put to death.

I really like the ideas that the Democrats proposed, where they created the separate wing for the cases that would have gotten the death penalty, making those wings resemble the lifestyle on death row. I think that would really allow those who deserved it to rot in jail, because it is a valid point that those for the death penalty make; life in jail isn't always that bad.

I'm not really sure what they mean about the cost to taxpayers rising. From all that I've seen, including research from a debate in Public Speaking, the death penalty costs much more then life in jail, so if they repealed the death penalty, it would save taxpayers money, not cost them more.

Assignment #3: The Death Penalty as an Option.

So, as I'm thinking about this, why does the death penalty have to be completely illegal, or completely legal? Why can't it be that we have the option for the death penalty, but only some cases are allowed to use it? Like, say, serial murder or rape, maybe even extreme cases of child abuse?

Frederick County in Maryland Restricts Death Penalty Even More in New Bill.

Okay, so there's the link that I found about restricting cases that are allowed to ask for the death penalty. I definitely like that the death penalty isn't just there for Maryland, and that there are only certain cases that can seek the death penalty, but I think at the same time, it is almost too selective. The article says that right now, since the amendment didn't pass, it is only murders that can ask for the death penalty, but I really think that there are other crimes that deserve it. How would you feel if, say, God forbid it ever happens, you have a daughter, and she was maliciously raped. Wouldn't you want your lawyers to have to ability to ask that that person be put to death? It may not be everyone's view, but I think having the option is really important. There are some crimes that the person who commits them just cannot be sane; there must be something wrong with them.

Assignment #4: The Federal View on the Death Penalty.

Instead of reading the whole thing and trying to figure out what I'm talking about, click the link that takes you to the "Federal Death Penalty Law" section. This was what I looked at on this website.

Federal Department of Justice Death Penalty System.

The first requirement was that "the defendant is charged with a crime for which the death penalty is a legally authorized sanction," and can I just tell you, that's what I'm talking about! The death penalty shouldn't be for every single crime. But what we need is a clear, specific list of said crimes. How are we supposed to determine what these crimes are? Everyone is so biased about this, we have to come up with something...

Which is when I found this:
Death Penalty Information Center: Crimes Punishable by Death Penalty.

Okay, this is a really good start, and I'm glad that it has started with rape or forced sodomy of children under a certain age.
My Concerns:
A) South Carolina: What constitutes a repeat offender? 2 times? 3 times?DeathPenaltyReport2010.jpg
B) Oklahoma: What if the prior offense was to someone over 14? Wouldn't you still think that this person is messed up and will do it again, and again, and again?
C) Montana: Does it have to be accompanied with bodily harm? Isn't the rape enough?
D) Georgia: What does that even mean?????

"Way To Go!!"
A) Texas: I love it that the first offense could have been before the law was passed, I feel like people would get away with that.
B) Louisiana: Clear and to the point, love it.
C) South Carolina: Not just rape, but sexual conduct alone. That could mean anything.
D) Florida: I don't really think that's unclear at all. Although, how do you define "sexual battery?"

There are other crimes that are punishable by the death penalty, but there hasn't been one person put to death for these crimes. Shouldn't prosecutors seek this out more often, or are there just not any cases that are severe enough to ask for such a thing?

Assignment #5: Police Officers and the Death Penalty as a Deterrent.

I"m not really sure how much of this article really deals with death penalty as a deterrent, but I think that what the situation is has an effect on how good of a deterrent it is. Take for instance what the author was saying about the percent of people of the entire U.S. population being killed, and in the research he found, police officers had a higher percentage of being killed. But at the same time, I really don't think any study you are going to do about how the death penalty deals with that wont be accurate. The author was right, police officers are there to protect us, and they put their life on the line every day to make sure we are. So how can you really tell how much the death penalty as a deterrent plays into that? If someone is doing something wrong, they're scared, they're facing the police, they have a weapon. Chances are, they're going to save their skin to get out of that situation, and they don't really care about the consequences. They aren't thinking about what will happen to them after they shoot the police officer, they just know that it could be a chance to get away. Now, don't think that I'm supporting the shooting of police officers, I'm just trying to make a point.

Death Penalty as a Deterrent For Police Officer Killings?

Assignment #6: Deterrence: Does it, or Does it Not?

It Does Not:
  • A study from July 2009 by Michael L. Radelet and Traci L. LaCock shows that the death penalty doesn't add any sense of deterrence more then the thought of a long time in jail.
  • Many scientific studies have failed to prove that the death penalty deters people from committing a crime.

This graph shows the amount of hand guns used to commit murders in six countries. Of these countries, we are the only ones that still use the death penalty, and we have the highest rate of murders with hand guns. Doesn't that say something about the death penalty?

Death Penalty Deterrence.

It Does:

  • Most of the thinking for those who believe that the death penalty is a good deterrence say that because we have always used punishment as a deterrence, we should use the "worst punishment we have." But I disagree with that, and I think that is a really uneducated statement. I feel like to be able to say that, it's very opinionated, and you would have to have everyone convinced that it is the worst punishment; most of the people who think that, don't want to use it for that very reason. But using that to back up why it is a deterrent just isn't helpful at all, it's just going around in a giant debate circle.
Opinion of Death Penalty as a Deterrent.

To be honest, I can't find many people that say the death penalty is a deterrence. This is a graph from Amnesty International showing the rates of murders in the U.S. with and without the death penalty.
As you can see, the murder rates have gone down in both states with the death penalty and without. And I think that speaks a lot to the fact that there are more then one thing that can deter people from committing murder, but it's clear that the death penalty isn't one of them.

Amnesty International on Death Penalty Deterrence.

Assignment #7: The Death Penalty and Teenagers.

Roper vs. Simmons, March, 2005.
  • The Supreme Court ruled that children under the age of 18 cannot be put to death, that it is cruel and unusual punishment and unconstitutional.

Prior to Roper vs Simmons, 19 states with the death penalty did not allow children to be executed.
Juvenile Death Penalty.

Psychiatrist's View on Death Penalty for Juveniles.
Psychiatrists in this article think that changes in the brain can account for these impulsive actions, and honestly, I agree with them. Adolescence is a very strange time, and it brings about a lot of changes in the brain its self, mentally, chemically.
As of 1989, the minimum age to receive the death penalty is 16, and frankly, I think that is ridiculous! How can you put someone to death that has barely begun to live? Not to mention all of those changes going on; its very hard to cope with stuff like that. And I know, personally, that when things do get hard, and things do change, there are places and people you can go to that will help you get through those things. There are medicines that will help some, maybe abnormal, chemical changes in the brain during that time. I also think its crazy that you would execute someone 13 years after they commit their crime, which of course is a whole seperate blogs' worth of a topic. But in this case I think it's even worse because they were so young when they commit this crime, and they probably didn't do it intentionally, and if they did, there should have been people there to help them through the rough time of adolescence, instead of throwing them in jail with tons of other hardened criminals that are probably three times their age.

Psychiatrist's Look at Juvenile Death Penalty.

Assignment #8: Life on Death Row.

I really like this article, because most people don't really get to see what goes on for death row inmdeath-row-1wpqjh2.jpgates, and its enlightening. I wish that the author would have told you what his crime was, when he commit it, stuff like that, but at the same time, it makes the reader more objective. I also really liked how he said "...and became better than the worst thing they had ever done." I think that really shows that maybe the death penalty isn't for everyone, that if they can realize that what they did was wrong, and truly see that, I don't think they should be executed. Like I said, it really should be a case to case thing. I feel like a lot of the time people judge those criminals for the one act that they commit, but don't take me wrong, this doesn't apply to everyone, but they don't realize that people make mistakes, and they do things they don't mean to. Sometimes because they are mentally ill, in which case they should go to a mental institution, not jail. But I feel like people are really quick to decide that someone must die for one thing. (Again, this DOES NOT apply to every case, but those cases are out there.)

My Life on Death Row by Wilbert Rideau

Conclusion: The Death Penalty for Some Cases.

I really strongly believe that, with the ending of all these blogs, I have figured out my stance on the death penalty. I believe that there should be capital punishment, but there should be really heavy restrictions on what crimes can ask for the death penalty, especially when it comes to the age of the defendant. Yes, undoubtedly, there are some cases that are so extreme and so many people are hurt that the death penalty should be an option, but that doesn't mean that we have to ask for it in every case. Not to mention how expensive it is just to seek it in a case.
Overall, I think that this project has been really helpful in allowing me to discover my own stance on issues like this. It has been a very good opportunity to do research that I probably wouldn't have done otherwise.

MLA Citations:

Assignment #2:

Young, Shannon. "Push to End Conn. Death Penalty Faces Key Hurdle." Times Union, 4 Apr. 2012. Web. <>.

Assignment #3:

Tully, Meg. "House Passes Death Penalty Restrictions - The Frederick News-Post Online." Frederick News-Post Online. Frederick News Post, 27 Mar. 2009. Web. <>.

Assignment #4:

"The Federal Death Penalty System." U.S. Department of Justice, 6 June 2001. Web. <>.

"Death Penalty for Offenses Other Than Murder." Death Penalty Information Center. Web. <>.

Assignment #5:

Kaczynski, David. "David Kaczynski." Times Union, 3 May 2012. Web. <>.

Assignment #6:

"Death Penalty : Deterrence." Death Penalty Focus. Web. <>.

"Deterrence (In Support of the Death Penalty)." Deterrence (In Support of the Death Penalty). Web. <>.

"The Death Penalty and Deterrence." Amnesty International. Web. <>.

Assignment #7:

"Juveniles and the Death Penalty." Death Penalty Information Center. Web. <>.

"Psychiatrists Question Death for Teen Killers." Death Penalty Information Center. Web. <>.

Assignment #8:

Rideau, Wilbert. "My Life on Death Row." The Progressive, Apr. 2011. Web. 21 May 2012. <>.