Death penalty is a capital punishment that is used in modern days as a punishment for certain offences. It has been in use since the ancient times, and even the Bible advocated for the death penalty for such crimes as murder, adultery, kidnapping, and witchcraft (). However, the death penalty has attracted substantial debates from the two extremist sides. The proponents of the death penalty argue that it is an effective deterrence method; it effectively deters people from committing capital offences. However, the anti-death penalty campaigners argue that legalization of the death penalty may lead to a death sentence being passed on an innocent person. Presently, death penalty has remained to be the most debated issue in the Criminal Justice System. Death penalty was legal until 1972, when the Supreme Court ruling on the Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 153 (1972) case criminalized it (Bakken 48). The court stated that the death penalty violated the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, and termed it as a cruel and unusual punishment. However, the Supreme Court through the ruling of Gregg v. Georgia reinstated the penalty; however, not all the states practice the death penalty. Thus, it is critical to understand the arguments behind the reinstatement of the death penalty, and the circumstances or cases under which the penalty should be legalized.
Numerous and valid arguments have been raised to support the death penalty. The Supreme Court has no right to interfere with the ability and the responsibility of the state to impose the death penalty in certain appropriate circumstances. Thus, the Supreme Court’s abolition of the death penalty was wrongful and mandate. At the federal government’s level, the state has an appropriate responsibility in the area of criminal justice. Since the earliest days of America’s history, there are three crimes, which are at the jurisdiction of the Federal government: piracy, counterfeiting, and treason. The abolition of the death penalty has led to doubling of these cases; therefore, we should revert to death limit at least to deter the occurrence of these crimes. Furthermore, additional legislations, that seek to expand the federal crimes, which are punishable by death, should be enacted. Additional crimes to be punishable by death should include terrorism, drug kingpins, and narcotics trafficking.
Death penalty eradicates worst criminals from the community and creates a much safer for the rest of the community when compared to permanent incarceration. It is evident that dead criminals cannot commit other crimes in jail, after escaping, or being released from prison. Additionally, resources are limited; therefore, the government should put its resources into better sues such as the maintenance or the sick and aged rather than in the upkeep of the imprisoned murderers and rapists serving life sentences. Death sentence is a real form of punishment as opposed to rehabilitative punishment; it imposes a punishment of the same proportion as the offence committed.
Since the execution of the death penalty in 1976, Virginia resumed criminal executions on 10 August 1982. In the state, various offences constitute capital murder and are punishable as class 1 felonies. Some of the offences are listed below:
1. Willful, purposeful, and premeditated murder of any person in the process of committing abduction; the abduction may be committed with the intention of extorting money, a pecuniary benefit, or with the aim of defiling the victim;
2. willful, purposeful, and premeditated murder of any person by another person for hire;
3. willful, purposeful, and premeditated murder of any person by a prisoner who is confined in a local or state correctional facility, or while in the supervision of an employee;
4. willful, purposeful, and premeditated murder of any person in the process of committing murder or attempted murder;
5. willful, purposeful, and premeditated murder of any person in the process of, or subsequent committing of rape or attempted rape, forceful sodomy or attempted forceful sodomy, or object sexual incursion;
6. willful, purposeful, and premeditated murder of any law enforcement officer, or any other law enforcement officer of another state or the United States who has the power to arrest under the powers of the state or those of the United States, such killing should be undertaken with the intention of preventing the officer from executing his official duties;
7. willful, purposeful, and premeditated murder of many people in the process of a single act or transaction; and
8. willful, purposeful, and premeditated murder of more than one person within a period of three years (VADP).
In conclusion, numerous instances, circumstances, and reasons warrant the execution of criminals. Furthermore, criminals increase insecurity in a given community, and the most sure way of maintaining a secure and peaceful society is their execution. The present regulations have gone a long way in ensuring a peaceful society by legalizing the death penalty. However, much more efforts need to be executed to include additional crimes that are punishable by law. This would be an effective way of deterring the commitment of such crimes.
Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (VADP). Virginia Death Penalty Information,
2011. Web. 13 May 2011.
Bakken, Gordon, Morris. Invitation to an Execution: A History of the Death Penalty in the
United States. Mexico: University of New Mexico Press, 2010. Print.