Legalizing The Death Penalty

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Months of court hearings and testimonies have come to this. The crowd falls silent at the sound of footsteps. The family members hold their breaths, and the lawyers sit up. The man himself stares forward silently, eyes unseeing as the jurors file back into the room, his life in their hands. If he is African American, they will be more likely to convict. Should he receive the ultimate sentence, he will likely be executed by lethal injection, an uncertain combination of chemicals that may be torturous. And even after all that, there is still a chance that he is innocent. The death penalty has been possibly the most controversial part of the American legal system since its reinstatement in 1976. Though some believe it is only fitting retribution, …show more content…
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) project director, Denny LeBoeuf, presents an intriguing idea in her article, “If Germany Had the Death Penalty: a Thought Experiment.” LeBoeuf paints a picture of a post-World War II Germany that decides to reinstate the death penalty, and, with their “completely impartial” legal process, still has a disproportionate number of Jewish convicts on death row. No doubt, this would throw the world into an outrage, and rightly so. We could not then argue that the Holocaust had been completely in the past and had nothing to do with the statistical evidence shown. So why do we now? Slavery and segregation were a part of American history for far longer than they were not, and for far longer than the Holocaust lasted. Millions of African Americans have been killed, abused, and mistreated throughout our country’s history, and racial prejudice is still alive and well today. 42% of the inmates on death row are black, compared to 13.6% of blacks in the overall population (Ford). The black ratio on death row is over three times that of the country as a whole. In addition, a study “further demonstrated that blacks who kill whites are sentenced to death ‘at nearly 22 times the rate of blacks who kill blacks, and more than 7 times the rate of whites who kill blacks’”(Ford). These statistics reveal a marked racial prejudice in the determination of the sentence. A person should not be more likely to receive the death penalty just because of the color of their skin. It would, however, be extremely difficult (if not impossible) to completely remove the deep-seated discrimination that exists in our country. Therefore, the only solution to the prejudice behind the death sentence is to simply abolish the entire

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