Thiel College-Comment Project No. 6
In 1972 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Furman v. Georgia that the death penalty had become "freakishly" random in the way it was imposed. Has the death penalty now become freakishly arbitrary in the way it is carried out?
Explain your position in detail.
I think that it has become arbitrary. There is a difference in society now than it was in 1972. People change and the way people think change as well. What was the norm in the 70's is not the norm in 2015.
I do feel that we sentence people to death in this country for no reason. Criminals are found guilty and sentenced to death but sit on death row for 30 years. Is that really justice?
Student No. 6
I believe that the death penalty is arbitrary in the way it is carried out because there are so many issues regarding the way the death penalty is being carried out. The three drug protocol is going back to the United States Supreme Court for further review. Many states have stopped using the three drug system due to complications. However, Baze v. Rees says that lethal injection is not cruel and unusual punishment. Many other people have to wait years until their death sentence day, I believe the waiting in itself is arbitrary.
I believe that the death penalty in the United States has became arbitrary because the same ideals that existed in the 1970's differ greatly today as times have changed. I believe that it is also arbitrary because some people facing the death penalty do not always see it, and instead are just institutionalized for very long periods of time. It is also arbitrary in the way that it is conducted, as the three drug protocol method of the death penalty is not always viewed as the best solution.
Student No. 15
I believe that the death penalty has become arbitrary in the way it is imposed because there seems to be no guidelines after the person is convicted. The offenders sit on death row for years, and they have no time line for when they are to be executed. People who have been sitting on death row for 5 years will be executed before people who have been on death row for 15. It also seems that the states that do impose the death penalty don't have a clear and effective method for execution. Many states have been trying different drug methods.
Student No. 3
I believe that the death penalty has become arbitrary because the ideals that existed in the 70's greatly differ from the ideals today. People who are convicted and sentenced to death sit on death row. There is no time line for how long they will sit there waiting to be executed. States that impose the death penalty do not always have a concrete and clear plan of execution. They have been trying different drugs to find what is the most efficient.
student no. 2
I believe that the death penalty is arbitrary because there aren't enough policies put into place in certain situations. I feel as if the facts and evidence are not looked at thoroughly enough and some important facts are overlooked. There are innocent people that have been killed due to misuse of evidence. Some interrogators in my opinion just want a confessions which in turn then puts an innocent person on death row for years before being executed.
Another reason the death penalty is arbitrary is because of dealing with the mentally ill. This subject needs to also be looked over more thoroughly and the facts of the criminal need to put to the max. We also need to make sure that everyone gets a fair trial when coming through the courts.
I believe that the death penalty has become arbitrary. You can see this by how a person can get executed, and someone with a similar case gets only life in prison. This is definitely a problem in the death penalty process. It isn't right for a person whom has been on death row longer to be executed after someone whom has been on death row for a shorter time. States are also trying to figure out the proper drug protocol for execution, it is still confusion on a proper execution strategy.
I believe that the death penalty has become arbitrary. You can see this by how a person can get executed, and someone with a similar case gets only life in prison. This is definitely a problem in the death penalty process. It isn't right for a person whom has been on death row longer to be executed before someone whom has been on death row for a shorter time. States are also trying to figure out the proper drug protocol for execution, it is still confusion on a proper execution strategy.
Unfortunately I believe the Death Penalty has become arbitrary. First, with the three drug protocol was very sketchy considering it would sometimes take people to suffer for a couple minutes before they eventually died. Secondly, people can wait possibly years until they're convicted and get the death penalty. The process of dealing with the Death Penalty is very confusing to people and there is no perfect way to carry out the Death Penalty and that is creating doubt in the system itself.
Student No. 28
In my opinion, I feel as if the death penalty has become arbitrary. Everyone sees cases where the same acts are committed, and one person will get the death penalty while the other gets life in prison. There are also many issues that arise because of the way the death penalty is carried out, for example the one drug protocol vs. the three drug protocol and various methods alike. The death penalty has also become arbitrary because a lot of things have changed since the 70s including peoples' opinions towards capital punishment.
Student No. 25
In my opinion I believe that the death penalty has indeed become arbitrary. Just alone all the controversy about how we carry out the death penalty and which method is the best, or most peaceful way. Also the fact that sometimes the execution doesn't always work. I think they just need to find a new way that is fast, simple and cheap. If this means that its a bullet to the head or heart, but is a guarantee execution and is fast and least painful, then we need to use that method. So yes I think it has become arbitrary.
Student no. 9
I very much agree with student no. 6. I believe that one of the biggest pieces of the death penalty that is arbitrary is the waiting process. Each day you are haunted by it being another day closer to the day of your death. But, I would not necessarily say it is freakishly arbitrary. it has its flaws that make it arbitrary, but not making it freakishly arbitrary, like it once maybe was at an earlier time.
I believe that although none of the methods of execution have been ruled to be cruel and unusual punishment, some of them should be reviewed. I believe there could possibly be a faster, less painful way, or at least sound that way. For example, with the firing squad coming back, it does not sound like a nice way to be executed, although it probably is the fastest. It doesn't sound nice to say or hear that someone was executed by being shot to death. So, I believe that it is arbitrary, but not necessarily freakishly arbitrary.
Student no. 12
I believe the arbitrariness of the death penalty has improved leaps and bounds from the the way it was in the 1970s, however certain aspects of it can still be improved upon. Nowadays, there is a lot of attention being put on the racial aspects of the application of the death penalty. As we discussed in class, there are a lot of disparities between death penalty trials for every combination of black/white suspect/victim. We also discussed that politicians often use the death penalty to their advantage in order to get elected rather than to create justice in society. If I could pick one aspect of the death penalty that should be changed immediately, it would be the length of time that people spend on death row. The number of people on death row has grown far too rapidly; after a certain number of years they should either be executed or their sentences should be commuted to LWOP. The methods of execution may not be cruel or unusual, however spending decades in prison waiting for the state to kill you sounds pretty cruel.
Student # 8
The Death Penalty has become arbitrary because there are cases more sever than those that were committed by people on death row, and those people are just in jail. Our requirements for someone to be put on death row is infrequent to the point that one crime is more sever compared to a crime that is of the same severity. For example, two man who killed multiple people in a grotesque way could have different sentences, depending on the jury and other factors of the case. One man could receive the Death Penalty, while another could receive life in prison. So, the Death Penalty has indeed become arbitrary because of extremely similar cases having various outcomes.
Student # 14,
The Death Penalty is no longer carried out in many different ways. There seems to be a steady choice of method for caring out a execution. The method the most commonly used is lethal injection. It could be like back I the old days where they would pick right then and there if it was going to be execution by lynching or firing squad. I feel as thought it is a good thing to come up with a constant method of execution. I feel at now there is a more constant method it is time to come up with a more reasonable time on death row. There would be only a years wait if it was up to me. Many of the people of death row never see their execution day. They pass away in prison. They should have just received life in prison with out parole. There is no problem with the execution method any longer but they need to change the time waiting for execution.
I believe that the death penalty has become arbitrarily carried out. I think this way because things have changed since 1972 when the Supreme Court made its ruling. It isn’t the same; therefore it is carried out in different ways too. There are too many ways that a person sentenced to death could end up. They could sit on death row for 40 years or it could be different for the mentally ill. Also, the ways that states are carrying out death sentences has changed, which further proves my point. Everything has just changed too much for the death penalty not to be considered arbitrary.
The process of actually carrying out the death penalty is so long it is hard to actually consider it a good process. After someone is proven guilty and sentenced to death they must still go through the appeal process. If after someone was sentenced to death and executed that same day or very shortly after you might think that this process was working and had a purpose. But criminals have to many rights to different appeals and motions to try and overturn their conviction as well as stall their execution. The number of people sentenced to death each year is so much higher than the number of people who are actually executed. The death penalty when you really look at it is very arbitrary.
Student number 16
The death penalty has again become arbitrary in the way that it is being carried out. There is a seemingly random nature to when an offender is called up to die. Some people spend thirty almost forty years on death row while others are executed in twenty or so years. The problem exists where a condemned person may be, and often is called to the death chamber long before others who were sentenced ahead of them. It is truly like being struck by lightning for these offenders.
Another area that the punishment is non uniform is in the method of execution. While almost every state uses lethal injection the protocols and drugs used are not the same. Imagine for a second if states tried that approach with hanging, or the firing squad. It would not take long for public outcry to reach deafening levels.
There is a problem in our country with the death penalty, and it is only a matter of time before one of the above issues leads to a Furman v. Georgia like decision,
I think the death penalty is going through a period of time where some more arbitrariness is coming to surface. The biggest issue present with arbitrariness is how the death penalty charge even happens. Having the choice of death coming from the prosecutor carries substantial weight as the trial progresses. Firstly, if the death penalty is a charge against the defendant, jurors will think that this person had done something exceptionally heinous to be charged. Usually this is true, but of course there are circumstances that are not. It would be fair if a jury of peers came together to decide, based on evidence if the defendant’s actions were heinous enough to deserve death. I think it is wrong to have a prosecutor decide, because of personal biases against criminals that exist in that particular line of work. Along with this issue, the issue of the method of execution presents arbitrariness to the death penalty. Unfortunately, methods of are difficult to study. It is impossible to ask someone after they have died how much it hurt. Obviously we as a race understand that certain forms of death hurt more than others, but how do we know about silent forms like lethal injection? I would say that for either side of lethal injection, for or against, it would be difficult to prove a position. Personally, as an advocate for the death penalty, I believe that there are certain methods of execution that are better just more gruesome. For example, a method of execution like firing squad is bloody and gruesome, but if you shoot someone in the head properly they die instantly with minimal pain. Alternative methods of execution might be better even though they are not as pretty.
I do think the way the death penalty is carried out has become arbitrary for many reasons. First, the three drug protocol has been botched numerous times, causing the person to suffer. In some cases they do deserve to suffer but when the punishment isn't supposed to cause pain but randomly does sometimes, that's clearly arbitrary. Secondly, would be the order of people who are executed. Sometimes people spend years and years on death row before being executed while others get executed a lot quicker.
I do not believe that the imposition of the Death Penalty has become random. It is a just punishment for the crime which it is applied to, 1st degree murder. One of the reasons it is not random is due to the fact that Death Penalty trials have become bifurcated, with the trial phase imposing guilt, and the penalty phase determining whether the death penalty should be applied. In the penalty phase, the use of aggravating and mitigating factors also ensure that the death penalty is applied fairly. The appeal process also ensures that the death penalty is applied fairly, with all death penalty appeals going directly to the state Supreme Court. These factors ensure that not only is the death penalty applied fairly, but also point to the fact that the death penalty may be the most fairly applied punishment in the United States, with death row inmates receiving so called "super due process" to ensure that they are treated fairly. While the legal system may not be to everyone's taste, it accomplishes more than it gets wrong and I believe that the death penalty is one of those areas.
Student No. 17
I believe that the death penalty has become quite arbitrary. Yes, the US has come a long way with the Civil Rights movement, but racism still exists in our country. The facts and statistics show that a black man is much more likely to receive the death penalty than a white man. Also, there are people who have been on death row for decades that are waiting to be executed, yet somehow people that have only been serving their time for a few years are executed before them. The death penalty has also been stayed in a good number of states, so there will be no executions carried out there, so why even sentence people to death if they are not actually going to execute them?
I do believe the way the death penalty is being carried out is arbitrary, in todays day and age to have an execution take over 45 minutes is disgraceful. Plus the fact that noone can even agree on the correct way to carry out an execution. We have states going back to the electric chair. The death penalty is in shambles right now and we need a reprieve from them like in 1972, and it should stay that way until we have a quick and speedy way to carry out these executions. I also believe that race absolutely influences who gets and does not get the death penalty, it is really sad that black men get the penalty for more frequently then white men.
I personally believe that the death penalty is arbitrary. The death penalty I feel is just thrown out randomly. I do not see how one can give the death penalty to someone for a crime that someone else received life in prison for. A good example of this is the Green River Killer. He killed over 70 people and did not receive the death penalty because he showed the police where he hid some of the bodies. To this day he is still alive compared to some people who only murdered one. I do not care if someone gets the death penalty for murder, I just think that it should be more equal the way it is handed out. This is why I think the death penalty is arbitrary.
Student No. 15
The Death Penalty
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