The Death Penalty

By: Kemah Hutchinson

Proposition:The death penalty should be abolished in America.

Urgency:To bring awareness to this growing issue in our justice system.  As nation our internal states are not agreeing whether or not to keep or abolish capital punishment which is causing internal problems.

Attention Getter:Video that has to do with the Death Penalty.

Bond: Link to Audience: Since we are of age it is our generation is going to have to an impact on the issues of the death penalty. We are going to have to deal with this issue and by bring awareness to it; I might be able to help make the decision a little easier.

Speech Preview:  In my speech I will be covering:

·         Definition and History of the Death Penalty

·         Main points for against the Death Penalty

·         Some possible Objections

·         Counter Arguments to theses Objections

·         Closing Argument


I.                   Intro: What is the Death Penalty?

A.    The death penalty is also known as capital punishment.  It is used today and was used in ancient times to punish a variety of offenses. When the issue of death penalty comes to play, it becomes an out roar from both sides of extremist. One side is for it saying it is a form of prevention, while the other side may say we might execute and innocent. Today, the death penalty is one of the most debated issues in the Criminal Justice System. It was legal until 1972, when the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional in Furman v. Georgia stating that it violated the Eight and Fourteen Amendments citing cruel and unusual punishment.  However, in 1976, the Supreme Court reversed itself with Gregg v. Georgia and reinstated the death penalty. However only thirteen states do not have the death penalty:  Alaska, District of Colombia, Hawaii, Iowa, Main, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.   (Source: U.S. Senate)

B.     I personally am against the Death penalty and disagree with the messages it sends.

II.                Main points and Arguments:

A.     The death penalty fails to rehabilitates.

1.      Supporting Statements:By putting the criminal to death doesn’t bring the victim back to life. As well does not teach the criminal to be remorseful. The criminal’s suffering is over in an instant rather than spending a life of suffering being treated like a cages animal. (Source: Hutchinson, 2009)

B.     Conviction of the innocent occurs.

1.      Supporting Statements:Since 1978 over 130 people were released from death row because they were wrongly convicted. There are several documented cases where DNA testing showed that innocent people were put to death by the government. (source: Bedau, 2006 and Hutchinson, 2009)

C.     It is more expensive for capital punishment than it is for keeping someone in prison than it is for keeping someone in prison for life.

1.      Supporting Statements:Most people don’t realize that carrying out one death sentences cost 2 to 5 times more than keeping the same criminal in prison for the rest of his life. It has to do with the endless appeals, additional required procedures, and legal wrangling that drag the process out. It is not unusual for a prisoner to be on death row for 15 to 20 years. (Source: Hutchinson, 2009 and Death Penalty Association)

D.     It is barbaric and violates the “cruel and unusual” clause in the Bill of Rights.

1.      Supporting Statements: Whether it’s a firing squad, electric char, gas chamber, lethal injection, or hanging, it is extremely brutal to allow state sanctioned murder before a crowd of people. We condemn people like Saddam Hussein whey they murder their own people while we continue to do the same. The 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prevents the use of “cruel and unusual punishment”. Many politicians interpret the death penalty as violating this restriction. President Obama wrote in his recent memoir that he thinks the death penalty "does little to deter crime."

E.     “Thou shall not kill.”

1.      Supporting Statements: Our founding fathers based this country on morals and built this nation on religion. How could we have a nation break the sixth commandment “thou shall not kill” By instituting the death penalty we are sending the wrong message that revenge is the best approach. The state is actually using murder to punish someone who committed a murder. Proverbs 24:25 says: “Do not say, I will do to him as he has done to me; I will pay the man back for what he has done.” For every decision that our society makes we ponder the thought is that moral or immoral. So how can we consciously say that the death penalty is moral, we can’t.

III.             Overview:

A.     The death penalty fails to rehabilitate the criminal.

B.     The possibility of executing the innocent.

C.     It is more expensive to institute the death penalty.

D.     The death penalty violates the Bill of Rights.

E.      The death penalty goes against the beliefs of our society.

IV.              Conclusion:

A.     The “eye for an eye” mentality is only holding our society back.

1.      Supporting Statements:This mentality will never solve anything. A revenge philosophy inevitably leads to an endless cycle of violence. Why do you think that Palestine conflict has been going on for over 50years? Why do you think gang violence in this country never seems to end? It is important to send a message to society that striking back at your enemy purely for revenge will always make matters worse.