Viewpoint: Death penalty should be abolished

The legality and justness of the death penalty has been in the spotlight lately. On Tuesday, Troy Davis, who was convicted of the murder of a Georgia police officer, was put to death despite calls for a stay of execution.

In an unscientific poll according to the website, 64 percent of people said that they felt the death penalty should be abolished in the United States of America.

Following the controversial execution of Davis in Georgia, many are wondering if it’s time to repeal the death penalty.

There were many people calling for a stay of execution of Davis, including former President Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Pope Benedict XVI and activist/musician Tom Morello.

In a letter that was published on, Carter said that it might be time to do away with the controversial policy.

“If one of our fellow citizens can be executed with so much doubt surrounding his guilt, then the death penalty system in our country is unjust and outdated. We hope this tragedy will spur us as a nation toward the total rejection of capital punishment,” Carter wrote.

It seems that more and more often, stories come out of people who were on death row being exonerated thanks to new technology and evidence. With the death penalty, convicted murderers are denied of due process of law.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union’s website,, the death penalty “forever depriv(es) an individual of the opportunity to benefit from new evidence or new laws that might warrant the reversal of a conviction, or the setting aside of a death sentence.”

It is hard to be absolutely positive whether a person is innocent or not. There is often some degree of doubt, and death is an undoable, final punishment. According to the ACLU, the death penalty has no place in a civilized country.

“The American Civil Liberties Union believes the death penalty inherently violates the constitutional ban against cruel and unusual punishment and the guarantees of due process of law and of equal protection under the law. Furthermore, we hold that the state should not arrogate unto itself the right to kill human beings.”

In 1972, the United States Supreme Court said that the depth penalty did in fact violate the ban against cruel and unusual punishment, but by 1977, the ruling was overturned.

Opposing the death penalty does not mean denying convicted murderers of punishment. Murderers should be imprisoned and kept from society. They should have to pay a stiff price, but killing someone who killed another isn’t the answer. According to the ACLU’s website, “a society that respects life does not deliberately kill human beings.”

The fact of the matter is that the death penalty has become an old and archaic law. It is time to abolish the law. It deprives people of the chance to clear their name. It is cruel, unconstitutional. If America wants to continue moving forward as a nation, the time has come to repeal the law.