This reading essay summarizes, explains, and evaluates the main points of the reading: “What Will Doom the Death Penalty: Capital Punishment, Another Failed Government Program?” by Daniel LaChance. The main theme of this article is the call to abandon the death penalty because it has failed. This essay, therefore, explores this article and provides a critical evaluation of the theme.
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Daniel LaChance’s essay seeks the elimination of the death penalty. He argues that the death penalty is “a failed government program based on the DNA-based exonerations of some death row inmates and recent botched executions” (LaChance, 2014). LaChance further points out that referring to this capital punishment as an open insult to human dignity is not working. Thus, the author exposes the limitation of capital punishment to deliver the promise of retributive justice, and he points out challenges related to legal complexities, bureaucracy, and high cost.
LaChance presents a rational argument against capital punishment from a contemporary perspective, and the death penalty should be considered a failed program to promote its eradication since support for the death penalty is indeed in decline. The author observes that cases of wrongful convictions and botched executions have raised questions about possible causes of past erroneous executions.
Besides, justice is no longer swift. For instance, death row inmates may wait for nearly 15 years to know their execution dates based on several appeals and other emerging issues (LaChance, 2014). In fact, a small percentage of death row inmates sentenced since 1977 have been executed (LaChance, 2014).
LaChance also draws concerns to money issues associated with capital punishment. Defense lawyers do not want to take such cases because of low wages. However, when they do take the cases, which often happens after many years, defense lawyers often make critical errors in slow appellate review processes. As a result, capital punishment is more expensive than life sentences.
In short, the death penalty lacks fiscal restraint, consumes many resources, lacks swift justice, and infringes on the personal liberty of innocent death row inmates. Capital punishment, therefore, fails on nearly every scale.
This article raises an important issue that has plagued America for several decades – the death penalty. LaChance calls the death penalty a failed government project because many Americans are now questioning this form of capital punishment. Apart from the financial costs associated with the death penalty, there appear to be numerous instances of cases based on flimsy evidence or cases affected by prosecutorial misconducts (The Editorial Board, 2014). Thus, some innocent death row inmates risk execution or have been previously executed. Additionally, bureaucracy and legalism challenges affect appeal processes, which slow down the intended swift justice. In short, the death penalty cannot achieve its intended goal.
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Nearly all aspects of some prosecutions are marred with serious, costly official misconducts, errors, and delays. Consequently, these insistent challenges have led the public and other concerned persons to question the death penalty and consider its alternatives. One may also argue that the death penalty does not necessarily lead to reduced cases of homicide. As such, one may allude that the death penalty fails to achieve its major purpose of reducing homicide because it may be ineffective or irrelevant to people who commit homicides.
In conclusion, LaChance offers a practical solution as an “elimination of appellate lawyers for death row inmates or a financial bailout” (LaChance, 2014). However, this solution is not possibly legal or feasible. Thus, abolitionists of the death penalty should present the problem as a distrust of government problem (failed program) rather than spending scarce resources to appeal to humanistic ideals, which many Americans do not share.
LaChance, D. (2014). What will doom the death penalty: Capital punishment, another failed government program? The New York Times. Web.
The Editorial Board. (2014). The innocent on death row. The New York Times. Web.