The very few innocent people are killed.

The
death penalty is a very controversial subject when it comes to law in America.
Many states are making it illegal, while others are sticking to their guns. One
author, Dudley Sharp, is vehemently in favor of capital punishment. He states
that there is a very minute chance that innocent people will be killed, there
is no racial disparity, the death penalty is cheaper, and that it is deterrent.
All these things are based purely on his opinion and have little to no basis on
verifiable scientific evidence.

            The first point that Mr. Sharp makes
is that very few innocent people are killed. He claims that only 23 innocent
people have been executed in the United States, but that 12 of them were not
innocent at all. However, a study done by the Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences states that
one in 25 people on death row are innocent. Sharp does not support his claim of
23 people, or even how 12 of those 23 were not innocent at all. He uses claims
by interest’s groups to support his opinion, and not scientific studies, or
facts. Also, the exoneration rate is only 1.6%. This means that 2.6% of people
are being executed unjustly. We can not have innocent people being put to
death. Even though it can take up to a dozen years, before the appeals process
is over, one you flip that switch, there is no bringing that person back, innocent,
or guilty.

            Mr.
Sharp also states that there is no racial disparity when it pertains to capital
punishment. While the gap is not huge, blacks are more disproportionally likely
to be put to death, that their white counterparts. The biggest gap, between
people when the victim is white, compared to black. For example,

“While white victims account
for approximately one-half of all murder victims, 80% of all Capital cases
involve white victims. Furthermore, as of October 2002, 12 people have
been executed where the defendant was white and the murder victim black,
compared with 178 black defendants executed for murders with white victims”
(Race and the Death Penalty).

The federal government has also disparity. Of the
18 people currently on death row, 16 of them are a minority (Race and the Death
Penalty). From 1995-2000 80% of federal capital punishment cases involved
people of color. Even after the Attorney General made changes, 72% of death
penalty sentences were against minorities. All these statistics show is both a
history and current bias against minorities in criminal justice cases. A
country as great as the United States, should not allow the lives of citizens
be determined by something as trivial as what color skin they had when they
were born.

            Another
argument he makes, is that the death penalty is cheaper than life without
parole. Once again, his statistics are wrong. He underestimates the amount of
time people are on death row, and the cost of death row. The average death row
inmate is there for 14 years, over double what his estimate is of 6 years. He
is using different organizations studies, instead of the data published by the
Department of Justice. This is because his estimate was based on certain laws,
not how long people are on death row. A person convicted at the age of 29, is
about half a million dollars cheaper to house for the rest of their life, when
you compare it to if they were to stay on death row.

            The
final argument by Mr. Sharp is that capital punishment is in two parts. The
first is that capital punishment is a deterrence. One of his argument states
that some who receive the death penalty were previously murderers, and that
some murderers who get release from prison, go on to commit more murders. He
argues that if these people were put to death that they could not murder. This
argument makes no sense, because the same thing could be said for people who
receive life without possibility of parole. Those that are in prison can not go
out and murder innocent people, just like executed people can not do the same.
Another argument he uses is that the brutalization effect is not real. The
brutalization effect is that when people get executed, you see a rise in
violent crime in the surrounding areas. This is because when people see the
government do something as violent as kill someone, they think that it is ok
for them to be violent too. He once again does not use any facts, and just
voices his opinion. There is a slight increase in crime when someone is
executed. He also states that incapacitation is another benefit of capital
punishment. His argument is that studies on whether the death penalty saves
lives is inconclusive, so therefore, we must go for the death penalty, which he
thinks saves innocent lives. While it is true that someone can not commit
another murder if they are dead, it is not the only way to incapacitate
someone. Life without parole has the same benefits, but you do not have to put
someone to death.

            The
author did not even mention the ethical and moral problems with putting someone
to death, especially if they might be innocent, but I will not get into that. The
fact is whether it is talking about a very minute chance that innocent people
will be killed, there is no racial disparity, the death penalty is cheaper, and
that it is deterrent, the author does not use sounds arguments. The death
penalty is slowly declining in use in the United States. Studies also show that
its effectiveness is dwindling too, and most likely does more bad than it does
good.