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Crucial Ethnicity Judgment with the Death Penalty

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The death penalty is roughly defined as putting a person that is condemned for a crime to death. Many people oppose the death penalty, but it is still in action in many states today. In a study done by James D. Unnever and Francis T. Cullen called Reassessing the Racial Divide in Support for Capital Punishment, they found that African Americans are much less likely to support the death penalty because of “injustice in the judicial system.” African Americans are also the most likely race to be condemned to death by capital punishment—meaning that the guidelines for giving out the death penalty are corrupt and bias toward race. The death penalty is a very controversial subject because everyone has different opinions on it.

According to deathpenaltyinfo.org, the death penalty has been around since the beginning of the eighteenth century, and it was first started by King Hammaurabi of Babylon. At this time, there were twenty-five different crimes that would receive a death sentence. The death penalty in the United States has become electrocution, hanging, lethal injection, gas chamber, and firing squad. The death penalty was sentenced only to males until Nov. 2, 1984, when the first woman was given a lethal injection for murdering her husband with arsenic-based rat poison. Since then, there have been ten other cases of women receiving the death penalty through lethal injection or electrocution. All eleven women were convicted of murder and put to death. In most of the states that use capital punishment, they issue the death penalty when a murder has occurred. However, in Texas, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Montana, Georgia, Louisiana, and in the U.S. military, the rape of a child constitutes for receiving the death penalty. In Georgia, and Missouri, capital punishment can be issued for aircraft hijacking. The death penalty was given for several different reasons throughout history, but is now used less than before.

Research has shown then when a person murders a non-ethnic person, they are at an escalated risk of receiving the death penalty. This seems very unfair, and makes the death penalty seem bias. This is saying that murdering a white man is worse than murdering someone of a different race. A murder is a murder, and everyone should receive the same punishment. A study done by Marian R. Williams and Jefferson E. Holcomb titled, The Interactive Effects of Victim Race and Gender on Death Sentence Disparity Findings, shows “the potential interaction of victim race and victim gender on decision-making outcomes.” This study also came to the conclusion that when victim race and gender were considered, those homicides with white female victims were significantly more likely to result in a death sentence than homicides with other victim characteristics. Everyone should receive the same punishment for their crimes, whether it’s the death penalty or a small punishment. It should not matter what the person looks like, or what sex the person is.

If the right person is convicted, it should not be cruel or unusual punishment. Murder is a very serious crime, and it deserves a very serious punishment. “Life without parole” is a conviction that properly punishes a person who murders someone. This just wastes the tax payers’ money and delays the person’s death. Someone who murders another does not need to live anymore, because if they do not care about the life of someone else, they obviously do not care about their own. If they admit that they have done this, I do not understand why someone would think that this person does not deserve the death penalty. The book Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town by John Grisham can really change how you feel about the death penalty and how you view capital punishment. The death penalty is reasonable only if the crime consists of murder or rape, the crime is not justifiable, and it is committed by an adult. If someone plans to murder someone else, they should know that they will for sure be given the death penalty, and maybe that would change the plans of someone who is planning on committing a murder.


The death penalty has been around for many years, and it will probably be around for many more. Whether you agree with it, or disagree with it, you have an opinion on it. The system is a little corrupt in giving the death penalty, because people who commit crimes against white women are much more likely to receive the death penalty than a crime against someone of any other race or gender. People who are afraid of being victims of crime are more likely to support the death penalty. Capital punishment is one of the most controversial issues today. The people who are given capital punishment are given it for a reason. Who decides the fate of the person given the death penalty? Our judicial system. Remember who we look up to—that is supposed to be an honest and just structure in our society.

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