START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
1,485,736 people care about Politics

5 Reasons to End the Death Penalty Now

5 Reasons to End the Death Penalty Now

Is it time to kill the death penalty? American activists have opposed capital punishment since executions were reinstituted in 1976, but their case has possibly grown stronger than ever in light of recent events. Here are five major issues that may give even proponents of the death penalty pause:

1. It’s Debatably Unconstitutional

The Eighth Amendment protects against cruel and unusual punishment, which many believe would include executions. This past month, Judge Cormac Carney in California concurred, declaring that capital punishment is “unconstitutional” in a verdict.

For the judge, the cruel and unusual punishment wasn’t just killing inmates, it was the entire mismanaged system that only actually kills a small fraction of the prisoners sentenced to death, seemingly at random. Although the ruling is specific to California, considering that the flaws the judge found in capital punishment are fairly standard throughout the country, it’s not difficult to imagine similar verdicts popping up in other states, as well.

2. Botched Executions

In April, an Oklahoma inmate ultimately died of a heart attack rather than a chemical cocktail after a botched lethal injection. Clayton Lockett suffered for about 43 minutes before he was ultimately declared dead.

It happened again just weeks ago in Arizona. Joseph Wood was left struggling to breathe for over an hour and a half when a lethal injection did not kill him nearly as quickly as it was intended. If executions are as humane as proponents like to claim, why have so many gone wrong as of late?

3. States Are Resorting to Shady Behavior to Ensure Executions Continue

The Louisiana Department of Corrections intentionally misled a local hospital to obtain drugs to use in a lethal injection execution. Hospital staff was under the impression that it was supplying hydromorphone to the state to treat inmates, not kill them. “Had we known of the real use, we never would have done it,” said Ulysses Thibodeaux, a board member for the hospital. Louisiana apparently has found this sort of deception necessary to execute inmates since medical companies have stopped selling certain lethal chemicals to prisons on ethical grounds.

4. Innocent Convicts Are Killed

Many people worry about the death penalty being applied to innocent people, and with good reason: DNA evidence has posthumously exonerated more than a dozen people who were put to death by the state. It’s a scenario that continues to this day. Recently, new information has surfaced about Cameron Willingham, a man executed in Texas in 2004, suggesting he was innocent after all.

Willingham was convicted of setting a house on fire, a blaze that killed three sleeping children. Independent forensic experts have since suggested that the fire was not the result of arson, but an accident. Additionally, Johnny Webb, a convict who testified against Willingham (and subsequently received a reduced sentence from the prosecution), has since recanted his story that Willingham confessed the crime to him, despite his testimony being the key piece of evidence used to convict Willingham in the first place.

5. It’s Racist

Capital punishment cannot be considered part of the “justice system” when it’s assigned to Americans unevenly. African Americans comprise an outstanding 42% of death row inmates, even though African Americans account for just over 12% of the population overall.

The Atlantic did an in depth examination at the demographics of death row inmates, revealing a clear bias in the types of people who get sentenced with the stiffest of penalties. When juries are four times more likely to give the death penalty to a black man than a white man charged with the same crime as has historically been the case in Philadelphia, the system is flawed and unfair.

Read more: , , ,

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it


+ add your own
8:47AM PDT on Aug 19, 2014

Shocking though the other 4 reasons are, there is only one reason that should tell ALL human beings that the death penalty is an outrage... and that is number 4!!! Innocent people are murdered!!!

6:08AM PDT on Aug 18, 2014

thank you.

4:08AM PDT on Aug 17, 2014

Thank you.

1:05PM PDT on Aug 15, 2014

I do not, and have never believed in the death penalty! Seems curious to me that courtrooms swear on the Holy Bible..yet they don't seem to obey the commandment THOU SHALT NOT KILL. If these inmates are truly guilty...they will get what they deserve come judgement day!!!

12:43PM PDT on Aug 15, 2014


11:35AM PDT on Aug 15, 2014

It's wrong, period.

2:44PM PDT on Aug 14, 2014


10:56AM PDT on Aug 14, 2014

Mary C.: will you volunteer to be put to death by way of compensation for the next poor innocent wrongly murdered by the state? If not then I suggest that you just keep reading your Bible and reflect on your Christianity (because ONLY a hypocritical, US Christian could be so vehemently in favour of the state murdering innocent people).

10:45AM PDT on Aug 14, 2014

Bill C.: you are right - he got off easy. He should have been kept incarcerated, forced to do menial labour, and to reflect on his atrocities for the rest of his natural life.

Capital punishment does not deter: it is society's revenge and demeans any society that uses it. Europe is so much more civilised than the US in this respect.

10:37AM PDT on Aug 14, 2014

WE, the state, are no different than any other murderer if we are willing to kill a certain number of innocent people in the process of killing the right one.

When and IF we ever get a foolprooof system I might change my mind. But we are FAR from a foolproof legal system. Science……when it is even allowed to be used in a case has shown we are making mistakes. People are being released 20-30 years after they were first arrested. And they had nothing to do with the crime. If that was YOUR son or daughter you wouldnt be so cavalier about putting them to death.

add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

Care2 - Be Extraordinary - Start a Care2 Petition
ads keep care2 free

Recent Comments from Causes

I too am a stickler for correct English, we have enough words without adding some of the stupid ones…

This is very typical of our society today. Take Hurricane Katrina, Super Storm Sandy, the devastation…

Es una especie interesante y hermosa,pero ¿cuantos ejemplares quedan?y¿ que se hace por…

meet our writers

Beth Buczynski Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in... more
ads keep care2 free

Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.