Is the death penalty applied fairly
Death penalty support statistics
Supreme Court is expected to announce its decision about the constitutionality of executing mentally retarded defendants. However, the current percentage holding that view is among the lowest Gallup has measured. For them, the frustration is not that judges and juries and prosecutors tip the scales of justice against capital defendants but that they don't tip the scales enough. Historically, Americans have been far less supportive of the death penalty for those under 21 than for adults, but the gap in support may be widening, as support for the death penalty overall increases but support for allowing it for children has been fairly constant. These folks are likely never going to be dissuaded that current capital punishment regimes, in states like Texas or Florida or Alabama, violate core constitutional values of due process and equal protection. Let me focus briefly here on two of the more disheartening results from the Gallup poll. Like all polls, this one gives us little more than a snapshot of current attitudes about a topic that clearly is evolving as a matter of both law and politics. When given a choice of the death penalty or life imprisonment as the better penalty for murder, a slim majority prefers the death penalty, consistent with recent data on this question. If you are black you stand a far higher chance of getting the death penalty, especially if your victim is white. So twice as many Americans believe the death penalty should be imposed more often than those who believe it should be applied less often.
Six states have banned capital punishment since and lawmakers in several others are contemplating similar measures.
Death Penalty For Convicted Murderers? Costanzo provides a review of the history of the death penalty, a review of how the death penalty process is working today, questions on whether or not if the death penalty is inhumane and cheaper than life imprisonment.
The new Gallup data reveal many differences by subgroup in regard to the fairness of the death penalty.
The truth is that race plays an enormous role in determining who is and who is not sentenced to death in America. When given a choice of the death penalty or life imprisonment as the better penalty for murder, a slim majority prefers the death penalty, consistent with recent data on this question.
And that's really where these poll numbers ought come into play—as a reminder of how far the conversation has come on capital punishment and how far it still has to go. This was an issue in the recent case of Andrea Yates, who was sentenced to life in prison rather than death upon being found guilty in the deaths of her five children.
At the same time, U. We can applaud the fact that nine percent of those surveyed—from 61 percent to 52 percent—evidently have changed their minds about this since He also questions if the death penalty is fairly applied and the impact, if any, that it has on deterrence.
And we can speculate about why the rest haven't. Meanwhile, the percentage who say capital punishment is applied unfairly has edged higher, with this year's four-point gap marking the smallest difference between the two views in Gallup's polling.
Supreme Court is expected to announce its decision about the constitutionality of executing mentally retarded defendants.
Poll questions about the death penalty
Travis was stabbed twenty-seven times; his throat was cut, and. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters theatlantic. Capital punishment is a controversial subject but is an effective punishment for serious crimes such as this. But the public still has a lot to learn about how unjustly the sentence is applied. Few Support Death Penalty for Mentally Retarded, Mentally Ill and Children Soon, the Supreme Court will announce its decision in a Virginia case that questions the constitutionality of the death penalty for the mentally retarded. This represents a failure of our courts, and of journalists and advocates, to adequately explain the grim truths about capital punishment. Future support for the death penalty may depend partly on whether crime continues to decrease, because support for capital punishment peaked along with U. Some Americans' views on the subject may have been influenced by stories of people sentenced to death who were later found to be innocent. In , the first lethal injection execution was performed in Texas.
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