Thursday, May 23, 2013

Inequality and the Death Penalty

In recent weeks, there have been two high-profile murder cases brought to trial, Jodi Arias and Kermit Gosnell. Gosnell, after a plea deal, has been sentenced to life without parole. Arias will likely be seeing the death penalty. What does that say about the American judicial system?

Kill one man brutally in one state and you're sentenced to die. Kill three newborns and lead to the death of a woman through gross negligence in another state and you're sentenced to life without parole. Does this seem right? Is this a fair and equal application of law that will ultimately lead to the perpetrator's death?
Disclaimer: I'm against the death penalty on moral grounds. Murder is murder, even if it's committed by the state, and murder is always wrong.
Now that I've gotten that off of my chest, there are some major inequalities in the implementation of the death penalty in this country.
For example:
  • Only 50% of murder victims are white, but over 75% of the murder victims in cases in which the murderer was executed were white.
  • If you murder someone in the southern or the western US, your chances of the death penalty is higher than if you lived up north or in the east. 
Justice isn't blind. It isn't blind at all. The death penalty targets blacks and it targets the poor. Even if you don't agree with me that the entire concept is immoral, you must agree that the system needs a radical overhaul. The poor need the legal counsel they deserve. There are people on death row due to ineffective defense counsel. Racism needs to get out of the courtroom.
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