Firstly, the death penalty in Florida. Those who are too dangerous to reintegrate are given a death sentence. Mesopotamia has the first recorded death penalty case, according to Hood and Hoyle (39). Thought to be a singular punishment for civilization’s worst offenders, the act has been put into practice globally, with only the past few decades seeing any kind of reform or move towards the abolition of such a punishment.
Though proponents stand behind the death penalty, stating it is for the greater good to remove these individuals not only from our communities, but from this mortal coil, it is also important to understand the process does more harm than good, so I am against it. The unintended consequences are, namely sentencing the innocent to death, critical human error, and the detrimental cost to society to factor into the consideration of whether the death penalty is acceptable.
Some proponents of the death penalty say, “What if that person re-enters society and return to do harm to the same individuals as before? A death sentence prides your survival your hands, guilty or not. Innocent men and women have been sentenced to death and their sentences carried out. I’ve defended cases of the death penalty in Florida ( Here )
In 1976, Clifford Williams and his nephew Nathan Myers were arrested for the murder of Jeanette Williams and the wounding of Nina Marshall, her girlfriend. Nina told the police that two Clifford and Nathan entered her bedroom and they fired shots from the foot of the bed. According to the evidence, a person fired the gunshots from outside the residence, the physical evidence told a different story. The defense counsel never presented that evidence and ignored more than 30 alibi witnesses who would be able to testify that they had been next door at a birthday party. Consequently, the first trial resulted in a mistrial.
The second trial lasted two days, the prosecutors argued, without presenting any supporting evidence. The prosecutor convinced the jury to convict Clifford and Nathan and recommended that life sentences. Judge Cliff Shepard presided over the case and overrode the recommendation for Clifford and sentenced him to death. Fortunately, Shepard accepted the recommendation for Nathan.
The newly elected state attorney Melissa Nelson created the first Conviction Integrity Unit in the state in 2018. Prosecutors began re-investigating the case and found no physical evidence linking Williams or Myers to the shooting and that, ” the physical and scientific evidence actually contradicts Nina Marshall’s testimony about what happened.” The report also found that another man, Nathaniel Lawson, had confessed to several people that he had committed the killings and a 1976 police report noted his presence near the scene around the time of the murder.
Clifford and Nathan were exonerated 43 years after a wrongful murder conviction for the death penalty case. 29 prisoners were exonerated for death sentence charges. Nearly 90 percent of the death penalty cases in Florida, the judge overrides the prosecution’s recommendation. Florida now requires unanimous jury recommendation before a judge can impose the death penalty as a sentence.
In fact, human error significant unintended consequence leads us to the consideration of human error. There are many ways in which human error can affect the death penalty, beginning as early as eye-witness accounts of a supposed crime. Eye-witness accounts are reliable is less than ten percent, according to Steiker and Steiker (245). The authors go on to suggest a plethora of reasons for this specific human error, ranging from a societally directed question leading to an answer based wholly on a race to misunderstanding a situation and reporting it as a crime (246). Even, people have the tendency to more easily recognize faces of the cultures that they are most familiar with, called the cross-race effect.
A study examined 271 real court cases, in photographic line-ups, 231 witnesses participated in cross-race versus same-race identification; 45 percent were correct. As such, even during preliminary investigations, human error has the potential to taint the innocent and send them to death. Because of the need to question jurors thoroughly, jury selection in capital cases is much more time consuming and expensive.
In-depth of Human Error
The biggest concern when it comes to evidence collection is human error. One piece of misrepresented or overlooked evidence can have someone on death row. It takes a lot of resources to warrant the death penalty, including the police, special task forces, and all individuals involved in addressing evidence of any kind. These many moving parts increases the probability error in an investigation (Deiter 105).
Though there are many other unfortunate opportunities to address human error, one of the greatest comes with juries. The jury is responsible for deciding the fate of an accused individual. While its decision can only be as accurate and as reliable as the evidence and arguments provided. Juries have relied on social and racial stereotypes when providing a verdict. Steiker and Steiker (250) surmising no juror is completely impartial or removed from biases they have experienced since birth.
Consider the cost to society, beginning with housing an inmate in the first place. For example, over 2 million inmates incarcerated, costing an average of $45,000 each year to house inmates, according to Vera.org.
Above all, this equates to $90 billion each year to house and care for all inmates, each execution costs taxpayers $24 million. 72% of the total spent to house inmates goes to salaries and benefits, 17% is spent on maintaining the facilities, and 11% is spent on healthcare for inmates. Vera.org also notes that, as of 2014, 3,000 people still on death row awaiting the imposition of their sentence. And an increase in the number of death row inmates, as well as the general inmate population would create the necessity for an increase in taxes.
What portion of the budget for prisoners goes to housing and taking care of them? Around 10 %. Moreover, Deiter (115) $1 million dollars is the estimated cost carrying out the death penalty in Florida. Florida spends $51 million a year to impose and implement the death penalty.
Firstly, death penalty in Florida is a waste of money and a covert tax. However as part of the legal process, everyone has a right to a fair trial; to ensure that, the court will appoint two attorneys to the case. Furthermore, one attorney’s fee for a death penalty case is $160,000-$200,000 and now with two, that’s over $320,000; nearly 8 times and the average cost of housing the inmate for a year. Death-penalty trials can last more than four times longer than non-capital trials; requiring juror and attorney compensation, in addition to court personnel and other related costs.
The process of trying a death penalty case unveils extraneous costs, such as stress. 12 percent of the state Supreme Court caseload are death penalty cases. It takes up over 50 percent of their time delaying their ability to render justice in other cases. In other words, trial court judges spent seven times more time on a death penalty case as they do on their next most serious criminal cases. Consider the stress for all parties involved, from the judge down to stenographer, and from the defendant to the defense, the stress has medical consequences.
For instance, many times, people with any type of involvement with a death penalty case have to seek psychiatric help. To illustrate, most psychiatrists start $450 per hour for general psychiatric sessions and $500 with a retainer for forensic psychiatric wrap the mind around that. Due to the Americans with Disabilities Act, the court has to pay for any accommodation that needs to be made. Another major cost is the factor that the imprisoned are caged away from their families.
Moreover, this creates many problems from the loss of support that the inmate provided to the experience they won’t be able to share with the younger generation. To minimize mistakes, every prisoner is entitled to a series of appeals. The costs are borne at taxpayers’ expense. Inmates come within hours of execution before evidence was uncovered, proving their innocence.
In sum, while execution seems like fitting punishment for criminals in society it is actually at the detriment to individuals. Exonerating someone after they die does negate the sentence. Moreover, human error is hilariously undervalued when reviewing the concise and accurate investigation procedures and examination of evidence.
Finally, the prisoners are expensive to house in Florida. Housing inmates and executing them are far more expensive than simply providing them with a life sentence. In the end, the death penalty does not only remove criminals from society, but it also kills the innocent and robs the country of valuable financial resources better spent elsewhere. It is time to stop this rather barbaric practice for more formal, financially responsible solutions.
I have videos on the death penalty in florida: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8h7NiuHvJp0&feature=emb_title
Homepage : https://clayrkpa.com
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Collins, Jeffrey. csmonitor.com. 17
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Deiter, R.C. “A Crisis of Confidence:
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Penalty. London: Routledge, 2016. 102-119.
Errickson, McCann. amnesty.org. 22
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Garrett, B.L., A. Jakubow and A. Desai. “The American Death Penalty Decline.” Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (2017): 561-569.
Hood, R. and C. Hoyle. The Death
Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective. Oxford: OUP Oxford, 2015.
Hurley, C.N. and A.S. Eldridge.
“Actual Innocence and Wrongful Convictions.” Duke Law School
Public Law & Legal Theory Series (2017): 1-15.
Steiker, C.S. and J.M. Steiker. “The American Death Penalty and the (In)Visibility of Race .” The University of Chicago Law Review (2015): 243-294.