Death Penalty: Right or Wrong?


Luis Perez

The Death Penalty and the Different Views

Article 1:

Starting with the Left-leaning articles and views and then gradually moving towards the right, I started with an article from the Washington Post titled “Why the US should end the Death Penalty.” The summary of it is basically how Joseph R. Wood III was executed, but the execution did not go as planned. He was originally supposed to have been given a two-drug regimen that should’ve killed him peacefully and quickly, but instead he remained alive for over an hour and was gasping and snorting. This was the third botched execution in the year 2014, and all three had caused the executed to suffer. Due to the short supply of injected drugs as European manufacturers aren’t making as much, States have been concocting their own made up injection of different sedatives and anesthetics. The main reason the U.S. stepped away from other means of the death penalty such as electric chair and firing squads is because injections are less unpleasant to the public. The argument of this article is that the U.S. should end the death penalty as in some cases the sentencing “demonstrates that the criminal justice system has not applied the ultimate punishment fairly.” Lastly, the numbers of executions over the last 20 years have dropped significantly in addition to those who support it. This article is definitely left sided because of the opposition to the death penalty and how it believed that the criminal justice system was not applying the punishment fairly.

Article 2:

Next, I chose an article between neutral and left sided, as it is a little left leaning, from CNN titled “Time to question the sanity of the Death Penalty.” It basically is saying how James Holmes is about to be tried for whether he should have life in prison or be sentenced to death. It then goes on to say how he sees the death penalty as pointless because of how the victim would’ve been subject to a much worse death than the killer himself. He then goes on to talk about different reasons why the death penalty is plainly irrelevant. Executions are actually less punitive than life without parole, and basically, prison life is hard and the death penalty is a free escape from that. Secondly, death penalty litigation makes no financial sense as in the case of Holmes, they spent over 3 million dollars as opposed to 150 grand if they hadn’t insisted on the death sentence. Thirdly the death penalty is hard on families of the victims because it takes so long for the death sentence to occur, that the family is usually in court for a while. Fourthly, only 31 of the 50 states even employ the death penalty. And lastly, despite safeguards, even innocent people sometimes end up on death row and are killed. You can tell that this is a semi-left sided news source as they oppose the death penalty, but their reasons aren’t as left sided as they did put that the death penalty is not “cruel” but it is hard for victims families and therefore it’s not needed.death-penalty

Article 3:

Thirdly I chose an article from a neutral viewpoint from Aljazeera titled “Former Texas prosecutor disbarred for sending an innocent man to death row.” It talked about how a former prosecutor presented tainted evidence that helped get an innocent man the death penalty. Apparently, Graves was considered an accomplice in the murder, but the day before he was to testify, Carter, one of the killers, told Sebesta, the prosecutor, that he acted alone and that Graves was not part of it. “’Sebesta never disclosed this information to the defense,’ the board said. Sebesta then presented false testimony implicating Graves, which was crucial for his conviction.” Graves conviction was reversed in 2006 and was remanded a new trial in 2010 and he was found innocent. In all Sebesta is considered an attorney with “unclean hands” and Graves is a free innocent man. This article clearly has a neutral viewpoint as no opinion on the death penalty were presented but just giving the story straight up. Compared to the other sources, this one allows the reader for themselves to decide whether it was right or wrong, without giving their own bias. death-penalty1

Article 4:

I then chose an article in between the neutral viewpoint and the Right-leaning viewpoint. I got this article from CBS News and the title was “Death Penalty Deters Murders, Studies Say.” The article was about how anti-death penalty movements are increasing and how there are debates about the injection in more than half a dozen states. It then talks about how that data gets little notice, and that this data suggests that the execution of each convicted murderer could save 3 to 18 lives. Naci Mocan, a professor at the University of Colorado said that in a study he did in 2003 and re-examined in 2006, he found that “each execution results in five fewer homicides, and commuting a death sentence means five more homicides.” Statistical studies like his are among a dozen papers since 2001 that capital punishment has deterrent effects. They later had suggested outcomes that could happen from this supporting data. One being that “Speeding up executions would strengthen the deterrent effect. For every 2.75 years cut from time spent on death row, one murder would be prevented.” They then argued that it isn’t “left vs. right” but instead is about statistical evidence that supports saving lives by killing a killer. Even though they say it isn’t left vs. right, this article is clearly right leaning as they not only support the death penalty but also to come up with some statistical data to disprove those who oppose it. But it isn’t completely right leaning because they have a professor who is morally conflicted about supporting the death penalty but supports it because of his data. By having it focus really on data then how they feel about it makes it not as right leaning.

Article 5:

Lastly, I chose an article from Heritage Foundation that demonstrates the Right leaning viewpoint on the Death penalty. The article is titled “The Death Penalty Deters Crimes and Saves Lives.” The article was about how the opponents of capital punishment are very vocal, the majority of the United States favor the death penalty for those convicted of murder. It then talked about how people believe the federal system discriminates against African-Americans. “However, there is little rigorous evidence that such disparities exist in the federal system.” Although the article did say that while there is little evidence that the federal capital punishment system treats minorities unfairly, “some may argue that the death penalty systems in certain states may be discriminatory.” It then talked about how officials need to recognize the fact that the death penalty saves lives and that increasing the risk of getting caught and being facing the punishments for breaking the law for crime deters individuals from committing any crime. It then gave some studies that proved this theory to be correct. And lastly, it ended with the fact that Americans support capital punishment for two good reasons. “First, there is little evidence to suggest that minorities are treated unfairly. Second, capital punishment produces a strong deterrent effect that saves lives.” We can clearly tell this is a right leaning viewpoint because of its heavy support of the Death Penalty and how it gives facts and studies and opinions to show that the death penalty is the way to go and not to end it. dp-state-map-b


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