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Transcript of Capital Punishment
Annie O'Connor and Kendall Kaiser
13,000 people executed since colonial times in the US
Texas: largest number of executions
2013: Maryland abolishes the death penalty
Japan, South Korea, and United States are the only democracies with capital punishment
Capital Punishment Banned
Hawaii New Jersey
Illinois New Mexico
Iowa New York
Maine North Dakota
Maryland Rhode Island
West Virginia Wisconsin
District of Columbia
Sister Helen Prejean
Member of the congregation of St. Joseph
Spiritual advisor to those on death row
Inspired Dead Man Walking
Has witnessed five executions in Louisiana
What is Capital Punishment?
A government mandated, lawful execution of an offender under the supervision of a court of law
Kendall+Annie: Capital Punishment
Educates other about capital punishment through lectures
Has served on many boards working to abolish capital punishment
Wrote two books
Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States
The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions
Bishop's Statement on Capital Punishment (1980)
1974: Church declares opposition to capital punishment
In concordance with the belief that the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment
Violation of the Eighth Amendment
History Of Capital Punishment
10 Debated Points:
Cost of Death vs. Life in Prison
Physicians at Execution
death penalty treats the criminal as a moral person who is able to control his/her own destiny
death penalty is administered unjustly based on wealth, race, and other factors
morally wrong to kill anyone
humane measures are used, so it is not cruel
death itself is a cruel and unusual punishment that we are protected from in Amendment 8
prisoners would rather life in prison, so death is a penalty that would deter the most crime
there is not concrete evidence to prove that the death penalty deters more crime
the criminal should be given a punishment equal to his/her crime
: Abolitionist Movement
Period of Progression
: Abolitionist Movement
use of cyanide gas
Execution rates all-time high
167 per year
UN Declaration of "right to life"
Capital Punishment support
reaches all-time low
Furman v. Georgia
: Execution of Gary Gilmore in Utah by firing squad
revenge is not a proper response and only continues the cycle of violence
the risk of making a mistake is very small, and any justice system will have a few mistakes
Oklahoma adopts lethal injection
Execution of the clinically
: Execution of juveniles deemed
: Pope John Paul II asks for an end
to the death penalty
any mistake is unjustifiable- innocent people should never be killed
Cost of Death vs. Life in Prison
cost of life in prison is much more than that of execution
the system used for conviction of the death penalty is more expensive than that of life in prison
racial minorities are sentenced to the death penalty more because they commit more crimes statistically
racial minorities represent the majority of those on death row- death sentences are given based on racial bias
statistically, those with lower incomes commit more crimes, but they are often given some of the best lawyers
What constitutes the death penalty in Texas?
the poor are more susceptible to getting the death penalty because they cannot afford proper defense
defense attorneys consistently fulfill proper requirements and are of high quality
2/3 death penalty convictions have been overturned because of mistakes by the defense attorney
Physicians at Executions
physicians should be present at execution to prevent needless torture
Criminal homicide by 1 of 9 "aggravating circumstances"
physicians are dedicated to preserving life and should not be ending it
"In confronting the problem of serious and violent crime in our society, we want to protect the lives and the sense of security both of those members of society who may become the victims of crime and of those in the police and in the law enforcement system who run greater risks. In doing this, however, we must bear in mind that crime is both a manifestation of the great mysteries of evil and human freedom and an aspect of the very complex reality that is contemporary society."
Bishops acknowledge the Church's understanding that under certain circumstances, capital punishment is allowed
Church's stance: valid in order to protect the Church and citizens from harm
justified by three main ideas: deterrence, retribution, and reform
Extraordinary Magisterium Teaching
Ordinary Magisterium and the Abolition of Capital Punishment
Do not believe that these contemporary forms of thought validate the death penalty
Believe that members of the Church should actively work towards abolishing the death penalty
would end cycle of violence
exemplary of the value and dignity of each human life, even in cases in which the accused did not respect life
God is a forgiving God, and we are a forgiving people
emphasizes that "God is the Lord of life"
and Natural Law
to go against natural law is to go against human fulfillment
life is the basis of human fulfillment, since all other human rights stem from it
Cardinal Avery Dulles on Capital Punishment
"Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, in his famous speech on the "Consistent Ethic of Life" at Fordham in 1983, stated his concurrence with the "classical position" that the State has the right to inflict capital punishment.
Although Cardinal Bernardin advocated what he called a "consistent ethic of life," he made it clear that capital punishment should not be equated with the crimes of abortion, euthanasia, and suicide. Pope John Paul II spoke for the whole Catholic tradition when he proclaimed in Evangelium Vitae (1995) that "the direct and voluntary killing of an innocent human being is always gravely immoral." But he wisely included in that statement the word "innocent." He has never said that every criminal has a right to live nor has he denied that the State has the right in some cases to execute the guilty."
Pope Francis on Capital Punishment
Calls for an end to the death penalty and life imprisonment
finds it unjust that this is the only solution to subdue an aggressor to the community
Believes that modern advancements allow for other avenues than death
Calls Christians to advocate for abolition as well as improved living conditions for prisoners
the only way capital punishment would not violate natural law is if the executions were for self defense
Consistent Ethic of Life
humans are made in the image of God (Imago Dei), so their lives are sacred
all issues regarding human life are connected
consistent ethic of life is upheld by an attitude of respect for all human life
A man commits his first crime- raping and killing a child. Should he receive the death penalty?
Another man breaks into a house and kills an entire family. Should he receive the death penalty?
This same man has killed 20 people before- should he be sentenced to the death penalty?
Should the death penalty be allowed? If so, in what cases?
How does capital punishment relate to other issues concerning human dignity?
Do you think the death penalty works to deter crime?
Arizona death row inmate
Executed on July 23
Indicted for murdering his girlfriend and his father
Death by lethal injection
Did not die for 1 hour and 40 min
During which he was snorting and gasping for air
Supposed to only take 10 minutes
Archbishop Gregory's Appeal to End Capital Punishment
Jeremy Irons on Capital Punishment
Instantly ordered a policy review of capital punishment following the botched executions
believes that it does little to deter crime
only justified under "heinous circumstances"
has drawn a connection to the death penalty and racial bias as well as the concern over the execution of often times innocent people that have occurred in the past