Death penalty in the U.S. context

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013 By

Death Penalty opposers

(Photo: dbking/Flickr/CC-BY)

Thirty-eight of the United States allow the death penalty. Illinois has a moratorium regarding the practice of capital punishment, enacted by former governor George Ryan. Former President George W. Bush, when he was governor of Texas, presided over a total of 153 executions, making his state the leader in carrying out the death penalty. The Supreme Court, in 1972, declared the death penalty to be unconstitutional and emptied death rows all over the country, but when states re-drafted their laws, capital punishment was once again instituted in 1976.

Death penalty of mentally disabled and juveniles

In June 2002, the court declared the sentencing of mentally disabled persons to death as unconstitutional. In the summer of 2009, the court ordered that the authority to impose the death penalty should be carried out by the juries, not the judges. In January this year, the court refused to review the constitutionality of sentencing juvenile offenders to death. As of the moment, there are 80 or more juvenile offenders sentenced to capital punishment, including an individual who was allowed to represent himself in court while he was only 16 years old. No amounts of bad credit installment loans or payday loans can help in situations like this.

Gender bias of the capital punishment

The gender bias of the capital punishment is considered the savior of the lives of women. The problem lies in the reason for saving their lives. Juries often regard women as docile, less threatening and less emotionally stable than men. A woman killing or maiming a person is often viewed as the result of loyalty or blind love.

This often excuses women from moral or social responsibility in the eyes of the jury. This has raised protests from condemned men, anti-death penalty groups and feminists with an argument that “gender, just as race and wealth, should play no role in determining who lives and who dies in the nation’s death chambers.” However, this argument means nothing if it is compared to racial bias as a reason to remove the death penalty.

Gender bias promotes stereotype

Even if more women are sentenced to capital punishment and executed in the same numbers as men, it does not make this form of punishment fair or less barbaric. Although gender bias promotes a stereotype-illusion of a female being the victim while the male becomes the protector, it still encourages hope that judges and juries will put fairness into law and have some human compassion before giving in to the desire to kill legally. That should be the case, whether the accused is a man or a woman and regardless of race.


The Washington Post

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