EIC Column: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, no need for capital punishment
Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.
Email This Story
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been found guilty on all 30 counts related to the bombing of the Boston Marathon. Seventeen of Tsarnaev’s convictions are capital charges, meaning he is eligible for the death penalty. Tsarnaev is a murderer, who permanently tore three human beings away from their families and left mental, physical and emotional scars on many others, but Tsarnaev should not be executed.
The 2015 Boston Marathon took place on April 20. Thousands of runners clogged the 26.2-mile route, and tens of thousands cheered them on despite of what happened on April 15, 2013. The bombs Dzhokhar Tsarnaev planted with his brother at the Boston Marathon killed three people, wounded more than 250 and left a scarred city searching for answers.
Capital punishment is the practice of executing someone as punishment for a specific crime after a proper legal trial. It can only be used by a state, so when non-state organizations speak of having ‘executed’ a person they have actually committed a murder. Eighteen states in the United States and the country of Canada have abolished the death penalty.
There are alternatives to the death penalty. All capital punishment states have the option of sentencing life in prison without the possibility of parole. A life sentence is cheaper to taxpayers. For example, ‘Death Penalty Focus’ states that California taxpayers pay $90,000 more per death row prisoner each year than on prisoners in regular confinement. Also, a life sentence keeps keeps violent offenders off the streets and allows mistakes to be corrected.
According to ‘The Innocence Project,‘ 130 people on death row have been released with proof that they were wrongfully convicted. DNA, available in less than 10 percent of all homicides, cannot guarantee they will not execute innocent people. If someone is convicted and later found innocent they are allowed to be released from prison, but if they are in a grave that is not an option.
Journalist for MicNews, Zak Cheney-Rice explained why the 21-year-old’s life be spared, “Tsarnaev should not be executed because this is America and quite frankly, over the past few months, even our criminal justice system has proven consistently unworthy of deciding when someone deserves to live or die.”
An ‘eye for an eye’ justice system cannot, by definition, take the moral high ground. Also, to agree with the “an eye for an eye” logic is illogical, hypocritical and extremely outdated.
Reported by ‘The Economist,’ most Americans are still keen on taking an eye for an eye. Two-thirds approve of capital punishment. That figure has fallen steadily from its peak of 80 percent in the mid-1990s, as the focus of debate has shifted from the question of whether the death penalty is right in theory to whether it is fair in practice.
Capital punishment is more expensive than life in prison.
According to the Department of Corrections, housing death row inmates costs more than twice as much as life imprisonment inmates. The average cost of defending in a federal death case is around eight times more expensive when the death penalty is not sought. Texas, for example, spends $2.3 million per death row case. California would save approximately $90 million per year if they were to abolish the death penalty.
Murder is a heinous act, regardless of who has committed the crime, and should not be sanctioned by the government for any reason. Life imprisonment is punishment, punishment that does not see innocent men killed. Capital punishment is revenge. It violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.
According to Cornell University Law School, the Eighth Amendment does shape certain procedural aspects regarding when a jury may use the death penalty and how it must be carried out.
Minnesota abolished the death penalty in 1911.
Reported by MPR News, Governor from 2003-2001, Tim Pawlenty, is a supporter of the death penalty and attempted to get the death penalty reinstated in Minnesota in 2004, calling for a referendum of Minnesotans. The Minnesota Senate Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee voted against reinstating the death penalty before it could become a referendum.
As a citizen, people should know that capital punishment is not a deterrent. Students will become taxpayers if they are already not and as a taxpayer, they should know about the cost. As someone who values fairness and justice, people should know that capital punishment is inconsistently and arbitrarily applied. As someone who values innocent lives, people should know that mistakes can and do happen.
People can support a racist, biased, hypocritical, flawed system that has sent many innocent men to their deaths or support a system which is more effective and less barbaric in which inmates are sentenced to life imprisonment. Mistakes do happen, and death is irreversible. A prison sentence is not.