Ernest Van Den Haag's The Ultimate Punishment: A Defense

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In "The Ultimate Punishment: A Defense”, Ernest Van Den Haag, former professor at Fordham University, writes, “Punishments are imposed on persons, not on...economic groups”. Haag is completely brushes aside the truth that the death penalty is unjust to citizens with an unfavorable socioeconomic status. 95% of criminals on death row in the United States are originally impoverished citizens. These poverty-stricken defendants cannot afford lawyers, but the defense system available for them is commonly underfunded. As a result of this hindrance, court-appointed lawyers for these defendants are not compensated adequately, which results in a lack of competent lawyers due to low enticement. Additionally, poverty-stricken citizens are at a major disadvantage due to the presence of payoffs and bribes throughout their trial. These citizens on trial have spent most of their lives in unfortunate situations, going days on end without food, water, or shelter; all basic needs for survival. Because of this arduous upbringing, it’s likely that justice will not take a high priority because of the money involved. The gap between the wealthy and the impoverished will continue to grow, increasing the amount of people who will be at a disadvantage in our justice system due to their lack of wealth. With the death penalty still in place, these citizens will certainly be subjected to an unfair trial, like how Edward Elmore’s initial trial took only eight days. If his court-appointed defense team

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