Escaped justice

In cases such as Furman v. Georgia,21 the Supreme Court, by a 5-4 majority, stuck down the death penalty, arguing that it violated the Eight Amendment, which rules against 'Cruel and Unusual Treatment,'22 as well as breaching the Fourteenth Amendment which expounds that no person should be deprived of life or liberty without "due process of law " or denied of "equal protection of the laws. "23 I believe that the sovereign rights of the accused are being threatened by the pain inflicted by execution.

In Diaz v. State,24 Angel endured an inhumane death, as a second series of drugs had to be injected. This process should be quick, painless and humane, yet the first instalment of drugs failed to paralyse his muscles causing asphyxiation. Eye-witnesses enunciated that Angel was in severe pain and wide-awake during the ordeal, which lasted more than three times the average length of an execution. This could obviously be deemed as torture, and this is compounded by the fact that his last words were ''The state of Florida is killing an innocent person.

The state of Florida is committing a crime, because I am innocent. "25 This proves that the US has breached its constitution; If the death penalty were to be enacted in the UK, there is no doubt that our Article 3 of The ECHR26 would be breached, which prohibits torture and the threat of torturing someone, as well as prohibiting treating someone in an inhumane or degrading manner. This is an absolute right meaning it cannot be limited as a result of a crime that a perpetrator may have committed. How can one proclaim that strapping a felon to a chair with chains and handcuffs, is not degrading?

Not only is execution torture for the victim, but it is a cruel and unusual punishment against the relatives of the perpetrators, who often witness their loved one's death. Despite Furman27, it was four years later in Gregg28 that it was ruled that the death penalty was not a violation of these amendments under all circumstances because the punishment must be excessive to be considered as "Cruel and Unusual. " It was also ruled that it must involve unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain and be grossly out of proportion with the severity of the crime.

They argued that the careful and judicial use of death penalty may be employed in extreme criminal cases. In relation to biblical teachings, the phrase "an eye for an eye" was extinguished by the introduction of the New Covenant in the New Testament. Even Gandhi said "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. "29 The death penalty is not justice, but revenge. We should not have to resort to something a criminal does to prevent crimes occurring. From a Christian point of view, the Death Penalty should be vetoed in the hope that one is holding out for the possibility of redemption for a soul ultimately to be saved.

It does not seem humane that we should seek vengeance to right a wrong. If the punishment ought to be the same as the crime committed, then how would it even be remotely plausible for a rapist to be raped, or a thief to be stolen from? As Cady explained, this is often impossible; how could one punish Hitler when it is inconceivable to commit genocide against one individual? 30 However, Sorell argues that equality of crime can equate to similarity of the crime, yet it need not imply exact similarity. 31 How can we as humans pinpoint this similarity when it is such a subjective issue?

Is death via an injection really equivalent to a brutal murder? Race plays a distorting role in capital murder cases. A defendant accused of killing a white person is more likely to be sentenced to death than one who is accused of killing a black victim. Also, the average sentence for black offenders sentenced to incarceration in U. S. district courts in 1992 was 84. 1 months, while the average sentence for white offenders was 56. 8 months. 32 How can this social bias that some lives are worth more than others possibly be moral?

There may be some people in society who escaped justice because innocent people served their sentences, but when can one ever rule out the possibility of error when humans are by nature fallible. Indeed, in the last twenty years seventy people in the US have been released from death rows after being found innocent. 33 The death penalty should never be re-introduced into UK law. Executing someone for an offence they did or did not commit, does not solve anything. If the government were allowed take this action, it would compromise our deepest moral values by disregarding the invaluable dignity of a human being.