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Death Penalty. Katie Schofield John Grib Doug MacDonald . Introduction. “Sentence of death upon a person by the state as a punishment for an offence” Crimes punishable by death are called capital crimes or offences Currently 58 countries practice the death penalty. History.

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death penalty

Death Penalty

Katie Schofield

John Grib

Doug MacDonald

  • “Sentence of death upon a person by the state as a punishment for an offence”
  • Crimes punishable by death are called capital crimes or offences
  • Currently 58 countries practice the death penalty
  • Used in colonial America for murders and other crimes
  • Karla Faye Tucker: first woman to be executed in Texas
  • Furman vs. Georgia- 1972 ruled all capital punishment unconstitutional. Determined to be “cruel and unusual”
  • 1976- death penalty was reinstated as constitutional
  • By 2009 1,167 prisoners had been executed in the U.S.
  • Helps deter crime
  • Is an appropriate punishment- serves justice
  • Not using death penalty risks criminals killing again
  • Helps control over population in prisons
  • Religions believe all killing is wrong
  • Bad way to teach that killing is wrong
  • Biased (those sentenced to death are mostly men, minorities, and people who can’t afford a good defense team
  • Expensive ($2-3.5 million to execute one person)
  • Some argue it isn’t a significant deterrent
  • Possibility of executing innocent people
interest groups
Interest Groups
  • Amnesty International- working to abolish the death penalty
    • They believe it is a denial of human rights
    • Campaigns to abolish the death penalty
    • Focus on individual cases, supporting repeal efforts
  • Justice for All ( - pro death penalty
    • Exert social and legislative influence
    • An organization to reform the criminal justice system through private and corporate membership
evidence statistics1
Evidence/ Statistics
  • Con
    • Costs

• The California death penalty system costs taxpayers $114 million per year beyond the costs of keeping convicts locked up for life.

Taxpayers have paid more than $250 million for each of the state’s executions. (L.A. Times, March 6, 2005)

• In Kansas, the costs of capital cases are 70% more expensive than comparable non-capital cases, including the costs of incarceration.

(Kansas Performance Audit Report, December 2003).

• In Maryland, an average death penalty case resulting in a death sentence costs approximately $3 million. The eventual costs to

Maryland taxpayers for cases pursued 1978-1999 will be $186 million. Five executions have resulted. (Urban Institute 2008).

evidence statistics3
Evidence/ Statistics
  • • A comprehensive study of the death penalty in North Carolina found that the odds of receiving a death sentence rose by 3.5 times among those defendants whose victims were white. (Prof. Jack Boger and Dr. Isaac Unah, University of North Carolina, 2001).
  • • A study in California found that those who killed whites were over 3 times more likely to be sentenced to death than those who killed blacks and over 4 times more likely than those who killed Latinos. (Pierce & Radelet, Santa Clara Law Review 2005).
recent developments
Recent Developments
  • Death sentences are at their lowest rates since 1976
  • Illinois signed an abolition bill of the death penalty in 2011
  • It looks like Connecticut will be the next state to abolish the death penalty
  • Current Governor Dannel Malloy said he would sign a death penalty bill if passed by the House and Senate.
  • North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue vetoed a bill that would essentiall repeal a former bill that gave death row inmates a new way to argue that their skin color influenced their sentences
  • White, Deborah. "Pros & Cons of the Death Penalty and Capital Punishment." Liberal & Progressive Politics & Perspectives. Web. 15 Dec. 2011. <>.
  • "Death Penalty." Issues & Controversies On File: n. pag. Issues & Controversies. Facts On File News Services, 1 May 1998. Web. 15 Dec. 2011. <>.
  • "Abolish the Death Penalty | Amnesty International USA." Amnesty International USA | Protect Human Rights. Web. 15 Dec. 2011. <>.
  • Justice For All - A Criminal Justice Reform Organization. Web. 15 Dec. 2011. <>.
  • Baynes, Terry. "Study Finds Death Penalty Use in Decline| Reuters." Business & Financial News, Breaking US & International News | 15 Dec. 2011. Web. 16 Dec. 2011. <>.
  • "Executing Prisoners From a Financial Viewpoint « Stew!" Stew! Web. 16 Dec. 2011. <>.
  • "What We Sacrifice on Death Row - SFGate." Featured Articles From The SFGate. 30 June 2008. Web. 16 Dec. 2011. <>.