Shona Moore

The Death Penalty

The death penalty should not be used in the United States in any Circumstances. It is cruel and unusual punishment, It is ineffective, and by killing another human being you are negatively effecting an entire family. We have rights as Americans and the death penatly goes against our eighth amendment rights. Criminals should have to sit in jail and suffer rather than be put to death in a cruel and unusual manner. As American¶s it is not our right to decide when a person should die. The death penalty should never be used no matter how serious the crime. On May 2, 2000, the State of Arkansas put 28 year-old Christina Riggs to death for killing her two children. The execution method was lethal injection. According to a witness, the executioners planned to administer the shot through veins in her elbows, but when they had trouble finding one, Riggs gave them permission to inject through her hands. A confessed murderer, Riggs had admitted to smothering her two children when potassium chloride failed to kill them. While Riggs at first attributed the murders to depression, the prosecution argued that she had killed her children because they had become an inconvenience to her lifestyle. Witnesses had seen Riggs singing karaoke on several nights prior to her children's deaths. In 1967, a moratorium was placed on the death penalty as the Supreme Court debated its constitutionality. In 1972, the Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty violated the Eighth Amendment, which protects Americans from "cruel and unusual" punishment - largely because it was determined not to be applied fairly. In 1976 the Court ruled that, in certain cases, the death

they were caught on camera forcing him to withdraw more money. it is practiced in all but 13 states and the District of Columbia. The death penalty is just one more way to get revenge in a society that is already consumed with violence.S. The United States.our courts should be proven incapable of error before using it.the current rate of executions in the U. Our criminal justice system has no basis for deciding whether an individual deserves or does not deserve to live. then drove him to an automated teller machine (ATM). The pair took all the money Nesbitt had on his person. While there. In the last year. they drove Nesbitt to an isolated location and killed him by shooting him eight times. After getting the additional money. . Because the death penalty is the one punishment that can never be reversed.5 days . Daryl Renard Atkins started on the path to death row on August 16. 611 people have been executed in the United States. Since 1977. have been carried out at an increasing rate. should join those nations in denouncing capital punishment(speakout.a plague of violent crime continues. 1996. it is always unjust . proving that the death penalty is not working as a deterrent either. . Many countries have already abolished the penalty. which has always taken a strong stand for fairness in criminal justice systems. Despite one being carried out every 3. and now. when he and his friend William Jones abducted and robbed Eric Nesbitt with a semiautomatic handgun.penalty was a legitimate punishment. executions in the U.com).S. with more than half of the executions since 1976 having occurred in the last five years.

´ He testified that after reviewing Atkins school and court records plus administering a standard intelligence test.Atkins was convicted of abduction. The state proved to the jury that Atkins posed a future danger because of his prior felony convictions. Stanton Samenow. They each confirmed the incident. In addition. the state called four victims of earlier robberies and assaults to testify against Atkins. The jury again sentenced Atkins to death. who said that Atkins was not mentally retarded. the state proved the ³vileness of the offense´ by pointing to the pictures of the deceased's body and the autopsy report. the same forensic psychologist testified. During the penalty phase of the trial. the jury sentenced Atkins to death. whose testimony was more coherent and credible to the jury than the mentally retarded Atkins. . but additional testimony was added for the state by expert witness Dr. Jones. but was of ³average intelligence. but the Virginia Supreme Court ordered a second sentencing hearing because the trial court used a misleading verdict form. Evan Nelson. Based on this testimony. at least´ and diagnosable as having antisocial personality disorder. Atkins had a full scale IQ of 59 and was functioning somewhere between the ages of 9 and 12. Both Jones and Atkins testified in the guilt phase of the Atkins' trial. a forensic psychologist. Dr. and capital murder and sentenced to death. but differed on who actually shot and killed Nesbitt. testified in the penalty phase that based on his evaluation of Atkins. armed robbery. Also. the state introduced victim-impact evidence and proved two aggravating circumstances to push for the death penalty. At the second sentencing hearing. which were part of the initial trial record. he was ³mildly mentally retarded. led the jury to convict Atkins and blame him for the shooting.

´ The Virginia Supreme Court rejected his appeal. Making them sit in jail and suffer makes much more sense.´ and concluded that ³the imposition of the sentence of death upon a criminal defendant who has the mental age of a child between the ages of 9 and 12 is excessive.´ Two Virginia justices dissented.´ In their dissent. Atkins did not argue before the Virginia Supreme Court that his sentence was disproportionate to penalties imposed for similar crimes in Virginia. the Virginia Supreme Court affirmed the imposition of the death penalty. Word count: 1. Samenow's opinion that Atkins possesses average intelligence as ³incredulous as a matter of law. The thought of being in jail for the rest of your life is much more intimidating that being put to death.´ The death penalty should never be used in any country or state in the world. It is never okay to kill another human being for their actions. but he did contend ³that he is mentally retarded and thus cannot be sentenced to death. A moral and civilized society diminishes itself if its system of justice does not afford recognition and consideration of those limitations in a meaningful way(infoplease.137 .After the second sentencing hearing. they said ³it is indefensible to conclude that individuals who are mentally retarded are not to some degree less culpable for their criminal acts.com). saying it was ³not willing to commute Atkins' sentence of death to life imprisonment merely because of his IQ score. By definition. saying that they rejected Dr. such individuals have substantial limitations not shared by the general population.

3/15/10 <www. Speak Out.com>. March 23.speakout. Info Please.infoplease. 2010. 3/12/10. 3/15/10 <www. mVestal. Elissa. . Christine.Works Cited Haney.com>.

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