Live - Love - Die

Life, Death, and Time

The death penalty is a controversial issue in America. It is a practice that reflects the belief that the State has the power to end human life for committing a crime. The method of lethal injection in America also remains controversial, as society continues to seek more humane methods of execution. The issue of lethal injection has far-reaching and an important depth because it affects many people and represents the ultimate cost one can pay. A social, moral and emotionally-charged debate around the death penalty and the method of lethal injection remains unresolved in America, and the lethal injection discussion raises many good questions:

1.) Does the lethal injection method violate the Eight Amendment ban on “cruel and unusual punishment”? Why or why not?

2.) Is lethal injection humane? Why or why not?

3.) Why does American society continue to seek more humane methods of execution?

Please feel free to comment on any of the blog posts and pages, vote on the polls and keep checking back for more information about the death penalty in America and the lethal injection debate. We want to know what you have to say, and we hope you gain a more informed opinion from this website.

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Who’s affected? Stakeholders?

Every American is affected by the death penalty in America. Depending on what state you live in, you may or may not have the risk of winding up on death row. Here are examples of people affected by the death penalty:

  • Convicts on death row; capital offenders who receive the death penalty
  • Families, friends and neighbors¬†of convicts on death row
  • Families, friends and neighbors of the victim(s)
  • Lawyers/attorneys, judges, jurors, employees of the criminal justice system
  • Citizens of the states with the death penalty

What are the stakeholders’ interests in the issue?

  • Capital offenders: most seek to not be executed
  • Families of convict: many seek to exonerate the capital offender
  • Families of victim: depends – some seek execution of convict while others seek closure in the form of privacy and other protest the execution
  • Agents of the criminal justice system: depends upon function of job
    • Defense attorneys: seek a drop or lesser sentence for client; appeal death sentence
    • Prosecution: seeks the harshest penalty possible for the convict
    • Judges: depends upon philosophy; some seek harsh punishments with personal conviction and others seek more moderate punishments
    • Jurors: depends upon beliefs and motivations; some seek execution; some seek innocence ruling; some want painful punishments; some want humane executions
    • Employees of the criminal justice system: depends upon job, personal beliefs, desires, and bias
  • Citizens of the states with the death penalty: seek less or no crime; seek punishment of guilty and freedom for the innocent

How are they affected?

Everyone is affected by the death penalty in different ways. Depending on many circumstantial factors, such as relation to the convicted, relation to the victim(s), emotions, involvement in the case, beliefs, and desires, the situation really determines the effect of the death penalty on any one given person. Therefore, we can only describe the depth, range and impact of the death penalty in general terms.

  • Capital offenders: the ultimate cost: death; they get no second chance
  • Families, friends, and neighbors of capital offenders: the loss of their family member, friend, or neighbor
  • Families, friends, and neighbors of victim(s): the end of the life of the convicted offender; closure?
  • Lawyers/attorneys, judges, jurors, employees of the criminal justice system: closure of case; no rehabilitation
  • Citizens of the states with the death penalty: loss of human life; risk of executing the innocent; no return of convict’s life

      Terms associated with capital punishment in America:

death penalty or capital punishment: the use of the end of life as a consequence for crime

lethal injection:the use of a fatal amount of drugs for the purpose of causing death

capital crime or capital offense; capital offender: a crime punishable (or historically punishable) by death; a person guilty of such a crime

abolitionist: a person who opposes or wants to abolish the death penalty

retentionist: a person who supports and wants to keep the use of the death penalty

deterrence: the use of the threat of unpleasant consequences (punishment) to persuade would-be offenders not to commit crime

incapacitation: the use of physical means (e.g. leg irons, prison cells, medication) to make it impossible for a person to commit a crime

lex talionis: the principle that a punishment ought to be similar to the crime for which it is imposed (“a life for a life,” “an eye for an eye”)

LWOP: life in prison without the possibility for parole

recidivism: commission of a crime by a person with a previous criminal record

retribution: the imposition of a punishment on a person because it is deserved

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