Essay On Death Penalty In To Kill A Mockingbird

Good Essays
Have you ever been wrongly accused of something? Stealing a cookie, or cheating. Well what if you were sent to death row for a murder that you didn’t commit. This happened to Walter McMillan and Tom Robinson in the books Just Mercy and To Kill a Mockingbird. The novel To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee and Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. explore themes of innocent imprisonment, wrongful death sentences, and racial injustice in the court system.

In To Kill a Mockingbird, Tom Robinson is wrongly convicted and killed, this happens in life fairly often too. “ African Americans were affected by a wide range of types of racial discrimination, from unconscious bias and institutional discrimination to explicit racism. The convictions that led
…show more content…
This happened to Walter McMillan in Just Mercy. In Bryan Stevenson’s Ted Talk he says, “Death penalty in America is defined by error. For every nine people who have been executed, we've actually identified one innocent person who's been exonerated and released from death row. A kind of astonishing error rate -- one out of nine people innocent.”(TED, 2012). This quote show that the high rate of error isn’t worth putting people on death row, if you kill one innocent person out of every nine. If you kill 9 people everyday for a year, you would kill 365 out of 3285 death row convicts. Another study said that, “...a wrongful conviction rate of 1 percent would translate to 20,000 people punished for crimes they didn’t commit. On death row, 1 in 25 are likely innocent, according to a recent study.”(Huffington Post). This means that you have a 1 out of 20,000 chance to be wrongfully convicted, and a 1 in 25 chance to be wrongfully put on death row. This shows different numbers but they are equally scary. Along with wrongful death sentences and convictions, there is also racial injustice in the court systems of today and …show more content…
According to University of California Irvine, “Many studies in at least 15 states have shown that defendants who are charged with killing white victims, regardless of their own race, are more likely to be sentenced to death than those charged with killing black victims. Since 1976, 76% of executions in the United States were for murders of white victims.”(Race and Wrongful Conviction in the United States, 9). The juries have more empathy for white victims, in murder cases. In the book To Kill a Mockingbird, Tom Robinson is convicted of rape on no evidence, and killed, “"The state has not produced one iota of medical evidence to the effect that the crime Tom Robinson is charged with ever took place. ... The defendant is not guilty, but somebody in this court-room is."”(To Kill a Mockingbird, Page 207). This quote shows how completely biased the jury was, when they convicted Tom in only a few hours, and that’s because Mr. Cunningham held them back. In Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson talks not only about racial equality but financial inequality also, “we have to reform a system of criminal justice that continues to treat people better if they are rich and guilty than if they are poor and innocent. A system that denies the poor the legal help they need, that makes wealth and status more important than culpability, must be changed.” (Just Mercy). Based on

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    They claim that if the threat of the death penalty increases, the homicide rate will decrease. However this argument is fundamentally flawed because there is no reliable evidence the death penalty does anything to discourage people from committing crime. In 2009, 88 percent of criminologists said they did not believe that the death penalty was an effective deterrent (Radelet). Contrasting what proponents claim, research has found that states with the death penalty have actually had higher murder rates. During the last twenty years, the homicide rates in states with the death penalty have been 50-100 percent higher than abolition states (Bonner).…

    • 1665 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Death Penalty Definition

    • 1016 Words
    • 4 Pages

    The death penalty is even often applied in a discriminatory manner. Non-discrimination or equality falls under these inalienable rights. According to deathpenaltyinfo.org there are many studies on race. Studies such as jurors in Washington state are three times more likely to recommend a death sentence for a black defendant than for a white defendant in a similar case. Next in Louisiana, in 2011, the odds of a death sentence were 97% higher for those whose victim was white than for those whose victim was black.…

    • 1016 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The Death Penalty The death penalty how much does society really knows or understand about the process? Many people view the death penalty a justice “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth ( mathew5:38).” The victim’s family might feel that the criminal is to be punished to the highest degree for his crime. Most people feel that is justice. However, most people do not really know much about the process of executing a death row inmate, how much more the death penalty cost comparing with keeping an inmate in prison for life without parole. The death penalty is unethical and waste of millions of dollars, because the death penalty is a very slow process, and waste of taxpayers’ money.…

    • 1105 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    If the death penalty is all about making crime lower, why would the crime rate in the places with the most capital punishment executions have some of the highest crime rates? According to death penalty.org, since 1976, Texas has had 531 executions and Oklahoma has had 112 executions. This totals 643 people that were murdered by two states alone (“Death Penalty Info”). “According to a survey of the former and present presidents of the country’s top academic criminological societies, 88% of these experts rejected the notion that the death penalty acts as a deterrent to murder… Consistent with previous years, the 2014 FBI…

    • 1175 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Sixty-eight percent of all death penalty cases that have been overturned, were found guilty because they had inadequate defense. (Facts about the Death Penalty) The death penalty is permanent, once you execute someone there is nothing that can be done if it is found they are actually…

    • 1379 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Which seems to be for racism in the death penalty, but also you would have to see the amount of white vs black attorneys that year. What really comes to it is people are more afraid to be racist that they go easy on the case. In 2005 there was a study done to see if there was racism in the death penalty. It showed that 58% of people executed were white and 34% were black. Although it continues on showing that white people have a lot more homicides than black, and the white people tend to kill other the extra money they earn can be spent on a prison store that is run by another prisoner.…

    • 1158 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    For example, “At least 4.1% of all defendants sentenced to death in the US in the modern era are innocent, according to the first major study to attempt to calculate how often states get it wrong in their wielding of the ultimate punishment”(Ed Pilkington, The Guardian) So one out of twenty-five people if convicted and punished to death is innocent. One person could have the chance to prove they are blameless, but moreover, are being injected and killed for a crime they didn 't commit. If you refer to the bottom photo, this is a picture of a man strapped in at Sing Sing prison in the late 20th century. As the reader, I am drawn to his eyes, they are so defeated. Electric chairs have been used for many years, thousands of times for death row prisoners.…

    • 758 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    They kill people for a murder they did, but not always being 100 percent on who the killer is, is scary. Killing innocent people based on what other people saw and not taking DNA tests immediately is what 's getting people executed. It costs too much to put someone in death row because they just sit there for usually 20 years until they’re either executed or until they’ve died from natural causes. They should be putting people in prison instead. They’ll save billions of dollars if they decide to take away death row.…

    • 1849 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    To illustrate, Carmical suggests that a “study found that of 11,404 persons originally convicted of “willful homicide” and released during 1955 and 1974, 34 were returned to prison for commission of a subsequent criminal homicide during the first year alone” (Carmical). These prisoners do not deserve another chance to be free, let alone a chance or possibility for them to be able to slaughter another innocent life. The probability of a murderer committing another murder should be zero, because these creatures should be executed before that happens. Allowing them to make the same mistake twice is a flaw on behalf of…

    • 1130 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Some people’s outlook over the death penalty is that it is too expensive. The Death Penalty cost taxpayers $90,000 more per year than a prisoner in general population. Those that do not think that the Death Penalty should exist think that Americans must choose life without parole. Another issue that the people who do not believe in the death Penalty have is that sometimes innocent people are put to this death. “Many people are sentenced to death for crimes they did not commit.…

    • 1247 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays