Death penalty violates human rights, fails to serve purpose

Staff Writer

The death penalty in the United States has failed as a form of punishment in the criminal justice system.

If a country is going to use the death penalty, it should be reserved for those who commit an act of terror against the state, not for person on person or property crimes.

Texas is a prime example of how the death penalty has failed.

Eleven years ago, former Gov. Rick Perry sentenced Cameron Willingham to the death penalty. Willingham was convicted of setting his home on fire, killing his daughters.

When new evidence had come up indicating that Willingham was not responsible for the murders, there was a petition for a stay of execution, which Perry refused to grant.

Willingham was executed. Since his execution, evidence has been confirmed clearing Willingham for causing the fire.

Wrongful convictions are not rare; having incarceration as the primary method of punishment, however, makes it easier to amend a wrongful conviction.

You cannot undo the death penalty.

The death penalty, if used, should be used as a last resort, which is currently not the case.

There should be a lot more scrutiny on the injections being administered to convicts receiving the death penalty. Currently, the cocktail in use is a three-drug method, which could be switched out for a single drug method that would help eliminate risks associated with the current cocktail.

Risks associated with the cocktail include reports that, following administration, convicts often writhe or make sounds that indicate pain.

It also takes a considerable amount of time for this three-drug method cocktail to kill the convict; some cocktails have taken up to two hours.

Take for example Robert Ladd, a convicted murderer who was considered intellectually disabled, executed on Jan. 29. He died 27 minutes after the administration of the pentobarbital.

Manufacturers of the cocktail are primarily based in Europe and are closing down because they do not agree that the drugs are not being used in accordance with medical indications.

Some manufacturers also do not want their drugs being used in departments of corrections in the United States.

As more and more manufacturers of the cocktail are closing down, it would behoove states to look at the financial cost of these lethal injections versus incarceration.

There have been recent discussions in Europe about reinstating the death penalty. I believe this is a reactionary response to the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

It would be unfair to presume that the use of the death penalty would fail in Europe just because it has failed in the United States, but I still do not envision the death penalty being successful in Europe.

The European Union (EU) has acknowledged the death penalty as being a violation of human rights for a very long time, and this ethical and moral foundation is very ingrained in the various legal systems there.

There are also several treaties made in France that would be broken if they adopted any form of death penalty.

The world believes the death penalty is wrong. Our government should too.

It is unlikely that Texas will do away with the death penalty. However, there has to be substantial revisions made to the administration of this capital punishment across the board. These revisions include decreasing the amount of wrongful convictions, as well as finding a better method by which we ascertain the lethal injection.

The death penalty is ineffective and becoming increasingly more inhumane due to a lack of transparency in the process.

The discourse surrounding the death penalty needs to work on a transition into other methods of punishment, or perhaps disbanding lethal injection as a whole.