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Natalie Maguire
Ms. Ingram
English 1 Honors
2 April 2015
Why There Should Not Be the Death Penalty
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, also known as the Boston Bomber, is currently on trial for allegedly
bombing the Boston Marathon in April of 2013. If he is indeed found guilty, he will face the
death penalty. After researching this topic for over a month now, it has become clear that the
death penalty is not the choice to make, but rather that, life in prison is a much better choice.
The death penalty is not the choice to make because it is immoral, kills innocent people, and
costs too much.
The death penalty is an immoral act against humanity. Losing a loved one can be very
hard on people and even harder when murder is involved. They are not able to bear it knowing
that the murderer is still around, so they think that the death penalty is a good solution to the
problem. Wrong. Death of the murderer will not stop the grieving for the lost loved one. If
anything death makes it harder on the relatives considering death ends the suffering and pain of a
person. Meanwhile, life in prison will keep the murderer alive in confinement leaving them to be
regretting all that they have done. Some people will say that death is a reasonable retribution,
but life in prison is even more so considering the living accommodations. Marvin Olasky of
WORLD Magazine had a chance to visit some prisons and talk to some of the prisoners there.
He learned that they live in a 5-by-9 cell with a metal sink, a toilet, and a thin mattress with a
built-in pillow on a metal bunk (Olasky). This is torture. Prisoners also have to think twice
before acting up which will lead them to solitary confinement. No prisoners enjoy prison, but

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some still believe that death is worse. Although, there are some prisoners like James Zarychta
who will say, execution is the easy way out [] With the daily grind of being incarcerated, it
consistently runs through my head: What was I thinking? Why did I do it? What keeps [him]
from going crazy is the thing [he is learning]: Jesus is the one way to heaven (Zarychta). As
long as religion is being brought up, consider the Bible. Ezekiel 33:11 clearly states that God has
no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live (Ezekiel
33:11). It even says in the Ten Commandments that people shall not kill. Humans have one life
and are prone to mistakes which just means that they must be willing to send murderers to prison
to change their ways. The death penalty kills people which is completely immoral, while life in
prison is a more moral choice that will also teach criminals and murderers a lesson.
The death penalty kills innocent people. The world has greater technology today than it
did before like iPhones and other electornics, so it is no surprise that there is technology to track
DNA on murder weapons to keep the innocent innocent and the guilty guilty. People figure that
the problem is solved, but it is not considering this story. Three daughters are trapped and die in
a house fire. Their father is accused of murdering them. Since he is poor, he is not able to afford
a good lawyer or attorney leading to his conviction and death sentence. The conclusion that the
fire was just an accident from the countrys leading fire investigator would not even be
considered. This is the story of Cameron Todd Willingham who was executed in 2004.
According to Rupert Cornwell of The Independent on Sunday, all poor people have lousy, stateappointed defence lawyers, dubious but unchallenged evidence peddled by a couple of supposed
forensic experts, and the testimony of a jail snitch (Cornwell, 34). According to Michigan State
and the Death Penalty Information Center, one in eight people on death row are found innocent
hardly leaving Willingham alone. This is a slim 12.5%, but when working with human lives,

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mistakes can not be made. Some people say that it is a chance worth taking if it will keep
humans safe, but what if it were them being executed for something that they did not do? We
can not retry Willingham or other executioners. When people are dead, they are dead and not
coming back. All humans are known to make mistakes, but the matter of life and death is not
something that can be dealt with with the chance of mistake. Not only are humans known to
make mistakes, but they are known to have their own biases too. There has been a lot of
controversy in our country when it comes to murders of blacks and whites. Not everyone
considers both sides, so no matter who is on trial, someone will support their innocence and
someone will support their guilt. With the biases of human beings, a person could be given the
wrong sentence not based off of fact. The cost of losing an innocent life is a serious one, but the
cost of an execution is a substantial one.
The death penalty should be eliminated because it costs too much. In the world today,
people can buy almost anything like plastic surgery or classic cars. People think that it is so
cool, but the price tag causes them to think over their opinions again. While it is possible to get
nearly anything today, it comes with a cost that decreases support for the cause. Coming back to
the death penalty, no one can put a price on lives, but people may want to take a look at how
much they are paying to keep their lives free of murderers. The Idaho Legislation researched
that each inmate on death row costs an average of $50,000. Heading across the country,
Maryland has come to conclude that each prosecution for the death penalty costs about $1.8
million while a successful prosecution is over $3 million! Many people dream of being
millionaires while in reality, the lives of murderers are worth millions. The United States has
conducted some research to find out that since 1978, taxpayers have paid a total of $4 billion for
executions. Meanwhile, life in prison costs about three to four times less than the death penalty!

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The money that goes towards a persons execution may not even kill them. Trials today go on
for years even decades, and those on death row have died of natural causes before their
executions. Sandy Banks of the Los Angeles Times talks about Richard Ramirez who was
sentenced to death in 1989. His appeal reached court about 17 years later. In June of 2013,
Ramirez died of cancer not from the death penalty. Basically, all the money for the court cases,
attorneys, etc. has gone to waste. According to a study conducted by Isaac Ehrlich, each
execution saves seven lives because murderers fear their own death and punishment showing that
the money does not go to complete waste. Although, this is not necessarily true. Just ask Texas
Attorney General Jim Mattox who would know best considering Texas has the highest death
penalty rate. According to Mattox, most murderers commit under severe drug and alcohol
abuse (Mattox). People under the influence will not think straight; therefore, they will not be
deterred. Why spend more money for the death penalty when it does not even deter murders and
crime from happening? The death penalty kills murderers, but in the end, the cost is not worth it.
The trial for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has just begun and will most likely go on for many more
years following the popular trend. If he is indeed found guilty, he will face the death penalty, but
that is not the best solution. The death penalty is immoral because of religion and killing in
general, kills innocent people who can not be retried, and costs way too much. Life in prison is
more moral, will prevent the innocent from being killed, and costs much less making it the better
choice for our country. So kill the death penalty making America a better place.
Works Cited
Banks, Sandy. "Death Penalty? No, It Isn't." Los Angeles Times. 19 Jul. 2014: A.2. SIRS
Issues Researcher. Web. 5 Mar. 2015. <http://sks.sirs.com>.

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Bradbury, Michael D. The Death Penalty Affirms the Sanctity of Life. The Death
Penalty: Opposing Viewpoints. Ed. Mary E. Williams. San Diego: Greenhaven Press,
Inc., 2002. 88-91. Print.
Buchanan, Pat. Executions Deliver Reasonable Retribution. The Death Penalty:
Opposing Viewpoints. Ed. Mary E. Williams. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 2002.
99-102. Print.
Cornwell, Rupert. "Will the US at Last Admit it Executed an Innocent Man?." The
Independent on Sunday (London, UK). 13 Sep. 2009: 34. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web.
27 Mar. 2015. <http://sks.sirs.com>.
Death Penalty Curricula for High School. Death Penalty Information Center, Michigan
State University Comm Tech Lab, 1 Nov 2001. Web. 8 Mar. 2015.
<http://deathpenaltycurriculum.org>.
"End Capital Punishment." Buffalo News. 01 Feb. 2014: A.6. SIRS Issues Researcher.
Web. 5 Mar. 2015. <http://sks.sirs.com>.
Kavanaugh, John. The Death Penalty Violates the Sanctity of Life. The Death Penalty:
Opposing Viewpoints. Ed. Mary E. Williams. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 2002.
83-87. Print.
Kay, Jonathan. "The Ashes of the Dead." National Post. 01 Feb. 2014: A.18. SIRS Issues
Researcher. Web. 5 Mar. 2015. <http://sks.sirs.com>.
Muhlhausen, David B. "Studies Confirm: Death Penalties Deter Many Murders at Far
Less

Cost." McClatchy - Tribune News Service. 16 Oct. 2014: n.p. SIRS Issues

Researcher. Web. 5 Mar. 2015. <http://sks.sirs.com>.

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Olasky, Marvin. "Dead Seriousness." World Magazine. 19 Oct. 2013: n.p. SIRS Issues
Researcher. Web. 09 Mar. 2015. <http://sks.sirs.com>.
Williams, Mary E., ed. The Death Penalty: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven
Press, Inc., 2002. Print.
Wolfgang, Marvin E. Execution Do Not Deliver Reasonable Retribution. The Death
Penalty: Opposing Viewpoints. Ed. Mary E. Williams. San Diego: Greenhaven Press,
Inc., 2002. 103-107. Print.