On Wednesday night, Troy Davis was finally put to death by lethal injection after being convicted of killing an off-duty cop in Savannah Georgia in 1989.
During the proceeding Davis continued to maintain his innocence.
Why Does the Death Penalty Take so Long to Enforce?
This is just another example of the inefficiency of the criminal justice system when it comes to the death penalty. Davis was put to death more than 20 years after he committed a murder.
This delay is not rare. In fact, it's common for a prisoner awaiting death to wait over 20 years before the ultimate punishment is eventually carried out.
One egregious example occurred in Arizona. A man convicted of murder in 1983 died of natural causes in his prison cell in 2010. The man, Viva Leroy Nash, was 94 years old.
I realize that we are pretty fond of this archaic eye-for-an-eye form of punishment in the United States, but in my opinion the drawbacks of capital punishment seem to outweigh the benefits.
The delay in executing these death sentences takes a toll on American taxpayers. In fact, according to this article on msnbc.com, it costs more to give a prisoner the death penalty than putting a person in jail for life.
We also need to consider the effects a lengthy waiting period can have on the killers family and more importantly the deceased's family. These people are forced to sit patiently for years waiting for the murderer to be killed. It's not fair to them because the victim's family need closure and need to get on with their lives.
I realize that one incentive to a lengthy time spent on death row is that it gives the justice system a greater chance of having any mistakes corrected. For instance, a wrongfully convicted murderer who sits on death row has a much better chance of an acquittal based on the real killer's admission or the subsequent discovery of advantageous evidence if he awaits his death for 20 years rather than say 5.
Death Penalty: A No Win Situation
This being said, the death penalty is a very controversial subject. And is something that will probably never be able to be administered with any sort of precision.
There is just too much at stake.
Consequently, as long as capital punishment is kept around the arguments for it and against it will continue to persist. And I guess if it abolished gripes will continue to persist about bringing it back. Accordingly, its a no-win situation.
What do you think?
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