The American state of California has embarked on strict laws in almost every aspect of its governing system, from drugs and substance abuse to gun laws, homosexuality, and even family relationships (IACJ, 2008). Of most important law is the inclusion of the death penalty in the state laws, and it is arguable that this law has achieved very little of its intended purposes.
California is a state with a history of enacting and abiding to strict laws. Capital punishment has been there in California since 1849, with methods used for executions changing with time ever since, probably due to technology, criticism, and the need to prove a humane way of execution. Hanging gallows, gas chamber, lethal injection, and even gun shooting are some of the methods that have been used over time (MathewBender and LexisNexis, 2008).
The current legislation requires that a convict chose the method from either lethal injection or asphyxiation. Offences punishable under death penalty include treason, perjury and murder (MathewBender and LexisNexis, 2008). Critics argue that just like any other law in the state and the nation in general, this law is prone to errors, and may lead to a situation where innocent persons are executed(Guernsey, 2009). They argue that although it may reduce the number of capital crimes in the state, it has created a sense of negative attitudes towards the state among the youths who feel that the state laws are too oppressive compared to those of other states. Moreover, there is evidence that the judicial process takes long before an execution takes place, which increases the number of convict cases in courts, the number of convicts in cells and above all, the cost of the process is very high (Guernsey, 2009).
Proponents of the law argue that it has achieved a decreased rate of capital crimes, especially in a state known for a high prevalence of crimes such as murder, carjacking, and shootings (Guernsey, 2009). They point out that the long period under which the judicial process undergoes is fair enough, because it gives time together evidences and thus give a fair trial. In addition, it has lead to reduction of potential criminals in the state, and also changed the mode of behavior among the youths. In general, this law has protected the society in California.
Guernsey, J. B. (2009). Death Penalty: Fair Solution Or Moral Failure? New York, NY: Twenty-First Century Books.
Institute for the Advancement of Criminal Justice, IACJ. (2008). The death penalty in California.
New York, NY: IACJ.
MathewBender and LexisNexis. (2008). California rules of court. Los Angeles, CA: MathewBender and LexisNexis.