Anti-Death Penalty Arguments Crime is a part of everyday life and everyone is aware of the threat it possesses, but the question lies in the methods in which it should be dealt with. A major issue in today’s society is whether or not the death penalty is a proper form of punishment. Many people have different opinions on the issue because of its many pros and cons. The arguments against the death penalty show that executions are more expensive than life in prison, the innocent may be wrongly accused, and it is not a deterrent to crime.
For the death penalty to be enforced there are many processes, which cost a lot of money, that take place over several years. The taxpayer, in most cases, pays all the costs of judges, attorneys, appeals, and courts over the whole course of the capital punishment trial. According to Michael Sage, a trial judge on a recent death penalty case, the cost will be three to four times more than the cost of a life-without-parole trial (“Cost”). In many states, the death penalty proves to be financially insufficient and negatively affects taxpayers through the cost of a death penalty trial.
In Texas, a death penalty case costs an average of $2. 3 million, which is about three times the cost of imprisoning someone for 40 years (“Facts”). The death penalty is much more expensive than life without parole because the Constitution requires a long and complex judicial process for capital cases (“High”). Even though the death penalty is much more expensive than life in prison without parole, with some changes to the sentencing of a death penalty it could be an efficient method of dealing with capital punishment.
There is always room for a margin of error in any judicial case. Poor defendants are given less legal attention by their under-qualified attorneys because of the imperfection of the judicial system. It is very clear that when a defendant is given a court-appointed attorney they are not always served proper justice. Death penalty cases have been notably known to convict innocent people to death row. Since 1973, over 130 people have been released from death row with evidence of their innocence (“Facts”).
Recent exonerations have taken place due to the advancement of DNA evidence and forensics. In the United States, there have been 278 post-conviction DNA exonerations (“Post-Conviction”). The Death Penalty Information Center has recently published a list of nine inmates who have been “executed but possibly innocent. ” The wrongful execution of an innocent person is an injustice that can never be rectified. Though the death penalty is a risky decision, DNA testing and other methods of modern forensic science can effectively eliminate all uncertainty.
Murderers do not think twice about their decisions because they act out of their own ignorance. Most murders are committed through acts of anger and determination, or by frequent abusers of the law. The death penalty is not a deterrent because murderers do not expect to be caught and they do not carefully weigh the differences between a possible execution and life in prison before they act (“Deterrence”). In fact, eighty-eight percent of the country’s top criminologists do not believe the death penalty is an effective deterrent to murder (“Facts”).
Many states in the United States that do not use the death penalty generally have a lower murder rate than states that do (“Deterrence”). There is no significant proof that the death penalty acts as a better deterrent than the threat of life in prison. Though capital punishment is currently not an effective deterrent to crime, with increased use of the death penalty it may serve to discourage violent crimes and restore justice. People against the death penalty argue that it cost more than life in prison, there is potential for executing innocent victims, and it is not an effective deterrent to crime.