QEP #2 Daniel R. Cella Miami Dade College Professor Leah Sheaf CCJ1020 11 December 2017 Do you support or oppose the death penalty? Why or why not? The American justice system today still uses capital punishment AKA the death penalty today as a consequence for being convicted of murder. 61 percent of the states in the United States still have the death penalty enabled today. A study done by the pew research center in 2014 showed that 62 percent of the American population is in favor of the death penalty, ( https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/national-polls-and-studies). Several issues still surface with capital punishment that make the other 38 percent of Americans who oppose the death penalty ask why do people still support this? Capital punishment places innocent lives at risk who are falsely accused of a crime punishable by death who are wrongly accused of said crime. Substandard defense leads to many innocent people being sentenced to death in a trial. Capital punishment fails for grasp the idea that those who are found guilty have the ability to change themselves using the prisons rehabilitation services, therefore denying said person’s ability to ever rejoin society again as a changed person. Captial punishment places several innocent lives at risk of death. Keaton V. State of Florida1973, Keaton a Florida native who was sentenced to death after being wrongfully identified as the murderer of an off-duty sheriff who was killed during a robbery in 1971. Keaton’s charged were dropped after the actual killer was found and convicted he was later released in 1973(https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/innocence-cases). Brown v The State of Florida 1983, Florida man Anthony Brown was convicted of first degree murder and had been sentenced to death after jury’s initial response was life in prison, the only evidence they had against Brown was a co-defendant who was also sentenced to life for his part of the crime. Brown was later acquitted after his co-defendant admitted he had lied under oath in the original trial (https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/innocence-cases). Ramos v State of Florida, Ramos was sentenced to death after being convicted or rape and murder, with absolutely no physical evidence places Ramos at the scene of the crime or linked him in any way to the victim. Florida supreme court later granted him a retrial because the prosecution’s evidence was used improperly against him(https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/innocence-cases). All of these men came close to being executed on false charges based on mistaken identity, false testimonies, and false evidence. “”I have yet to see a death case among the dozens coming to the Supreme Court on eve-of-execution stay applications in which the defendant was well represented at trial? People who are well represented at trial do not get the death penalty.”” – Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, April 9, 2001. (https://www.aclu.org/other/inadequate-representation). A good chunk of the people who are unfortunate enough to receive the death penalty are not rich and cannot afford their own attorneys and are appointed a public defender, public defenders are known to be overworked and very stressed dealing with several cases at once. In a capital case having a stressed overworked and possibly an inexperienced public attorney can lead to the worst outcomes in a trial. June 2003 the U.S Supreme Court had overruled the death penalty of Kevin Wiggins and had ordered a new trial because of his lawyer’s incompetence to represent him correctly in his case. The constitution guarantees a right to counsel but does not guarantee a right to a good counsel. The difference between life and death in a capital case is the result of either good or bad representation during the case. Wanda Jean Allen an Oklahoma woman who was executed after being accused of murdering her lover. The attorney who had been appointed to Allen’s case had never dealt with a capital case and was not prepared to do so, he had requested to be removed from the case or at least to receive assistance from the public defender’s office and the state or Oklahoma denied his request. Wanda Allen had a long history of mental illness and her attorney failed to gather this evidence for her case if he had the state most likely would have spared her life, (https://www.aclu.org/other/inadequate-representation). The state of Philadelphia 60 percent of all capital cases went without proper investigations or experienced attorneys, (https://www.aclu.org/other/inadequate-representation). One would begin to think that the state would be able to provide appropriate representation to a case that involves some thing as delicate as deciding whether a person lives or not would be mandatory. A standard trial without the death penalty cost about 740,000USD while cases which involve the death penalty cost about 1.26 million USD. To maintain a death row prisoner, it cost taxpayers close to 90,000USD a year, that is more than two times the amount of money than the average American makes. Seems like keeping people in jail for life cost the tax payers less money over the years. 2009 Florida tax reports showed that the state of Florida keeping death row inmates cost Floridian tax payers close to 51 million USD a year. (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/28/opinion/28mon3.html). 51 million a year just in Florida all to keep inmates on death row, that tax payer money could be going to the prisons and jailed so that the rehabilitation services in those places can be even more efficient than they are now. Public defenders are very underpaid for the work they do if we devoted that tax payer money for the public defenders we can have better quality defense for our defendants during a capital cases. A person would begin to think about how much money the state actually spends on only death row inmates over how much they spend on the prisoners currently in jail or prison today. In beginning to understand the flaws of capital punishment we show all of the negatives and downsides to the death penalty. Capital punishment today and throughout history has been putting innocent lives at risk over the years. The quality of proper representation in a capital case is so bad that most cases end up being a loss for the defendant and they are sentenced to death. The price to keep and maintain the death penalty is outrageous and seems to be uncontrolled by the state it shouldn’t cost more to keep an inmate on death row than keeping an inmate in a regular prison. This country needs to change their stance on capital punishment its deadly, barbaric, and it is expensive.