FBI Uniform Crime Report

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Step into the shoes of Cameron Todd Willingham. He was one of the 59 accused criminals sentenced to death by the United States judicial system in 2004. Thought to have murdered his three children by arson in the family home, Willingham was put on death row on January 8, 1992. However, he was different from the other convicts. Willingham was actually innocent. The fire was an accident. The truth got out many years too late though, and Willingham died by lethal injection on February 17, 2004 at the age of 36 (Eric). From 1973 to 2015, more than 150 innocent men and women have been sentenced to death row. The killing of the falsely accused is only one of the several major problems that the highly controversial death penalty faces. And…show more content…
In fact, a study done by the National Research Council, titled Deterrence and the Death Penalty, even went as far as stating that the claims supporting the death penalty are “fundamentally flawed” (2012). What is more important though, is to see if this can be observed in the real world today; and by no surprise, it can. In 2013, the FBI Uniform Crime Report showed that the Southern states had the highest murder rates, and the highest percentage of executions at 80%, whereas the Northeast has the lowest murder rates and only 1% of the year’s executions. So why does the South still have the highest murder rates even though they perform the most executions? One must assume that such extreme practices like the death penalty has to be unnecessary. If the cold-blooded killing of thousands does not lower premeditated murder, there is really no point (because let 's face it, the saying “eye for an eye” is childish and socially unacceptable). This same conclusion was agreed upon in a recent poll by almost 90% of the world’s criminological societies (Facts About the Death Penalty). However in all honesty, the argument against the death penalty doesn’t just stop at its redundancy, but also its…show more content…
This is because the death penalty is an explicit violation of the 8th amendment in the United States Bill of Rights. The 8th amendment has three clauses: excessive bail, excessive fines, and cruel and unusual punishment. Capital punishment clearly crosses the line of the last part in the amendment that states “nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” This section does not allow the government to harm any citizen of the United States in such a way, which, as the Supreme Court ruled in 1972, includes the death penalty. In 1972, the Supreme Court was faced with the landmark case Furman v. Georgia. This case dealt with an accidental murder, and resulted in the sentencing of William Henry Furman to death. The punishment however, was never carried out because the appeal was brought to the Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of Furman. To end the case the Supreme Court defined cruel and unusual punishment as a degrading, not arbitrary, or unnecessary and unaccepted actions. This “test” to see if some action violates the language of this amendment was used to determine that the death penalty was in fact unconstitutional, and led to a four year de facto moratorium throughout the United
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