The legal system in the United States is highly developed and despite comprising many levels and judicially functions different by each state, the overal procedures tend to be performed after a very convoluted set of legal and ethical evaluating.1 Before the jury carries out the final verdict, it undergoes an extremely lenghty process of evidence-based analysis and, despite oftentimes extremely difficult, an objective and a fair trial with the focus on indvidual’s rights irregardless of the crime. In case of capital punishment there are twelve carefully selected jury members who decide that a defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Cases where innocent individuals were sentenced to death did occur and are a common theme in several movies and novels (e.g Green Mile) but such percentage is extremely low and does not constitute for the main argument against the procedure. (It is believed that since 1973, 1.6 percent of formerly sentenced inmates were exonerated2.)3 Wishfully this phenomena is to decrease with the impovements of forensic science and technology in general.
Moving forward to understand the objections of the abolishonists, another important argument is that the death penalty is not neccessarrily a deterrent against most violent crime. Those in favor of the death penalty will usually take a more philosophical arguments against this claim in order to justify the punishment, one which I will include in the second half of my essay when describing motifs of the defenders. Theoretically however, it is true that the death penalty and decrease in crime are not correlated. Those who defend the detterance theory behind the punishment ought to answer certain questions before determining their stances. Does the threat of death as a punishment deter individuals from committing abhorrent crimes more than the prospects of life imprisonment? Even if it empirically deter these crimes, would it be morally justified? Let us consider that we would introduce a death penalty against all crimes from petty theft to tax fraud. Although crime rate would almost certainly decrease, the message behind these actions would be far from moral and most importantly, incompatible with the democratic principles. Even death penalty and deterrence theorists gravitate towards upper limit on the harshness of punishment.