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Ordonez 1 Gabriel Ordonez Professor Julia Raybould-Rodgers English 514 July 26, 2011 Killed Because They Killed

California is clearly one of the worlds strongest economies and it is the one of the most important states in the United States. With the highest population in the United States, California is a state with a problem in its penal system. One of the main and most controversial problems in its penal system is the capital punishment. Californias death penalty is very controversial because, while many believe that it costs too much money to the state, money that comes out of tax payers money, and believe that it is morally and humanly wrong, others believe that that it is fair to the families of victims of murder. On the article, Death penalty foes' self-fulfilling prophecies, the author Debra J. Saunders explains how some senate senators in California are pushing to end the capital punishment in the state because its ineffective and it costs too much money. The Death Penalty is morally wrong, and extremely expensive to tax payers and it should be removed and replaced with life time imprisonment. The death penalty should be removed because is it morally wrong and unethical. In California, there are only two ways someone can be sentenced to death and those are treason to the state or first degree murder. These two crimes are very serious and deserve a very serious punishment. So far, all of the criminals sentenced to death in California were sentenced because they killed one or more people. Killing someone because he or she killed someone else make Society revengeful and barbarian.Austin Sarat explains in his book Is the Death Penalty Dying? European and American Perspectives that One cannot fight barbarism with means that are

Ordonez 2 equally barbaric.If society wants to send out message that says Murdering someone is wrong, it cannot sentence theses criminal to death because it would be doing the same thing. Capital punishment also gives, not only California, but to the United States, a negative image to other nations that oppose the death penalty. Sarat continued saying on his book how all the Western European countries abolished the death penalty 1981, as France was the last one to abolish it. He explains that European countries have a different opinion in death penalty and this could affect the relationship between the United States and European countries. The death penalty should be removed because it is irreversible when someone innocent has been convicted and putted to death. The death penalty always creates controversy and some of the pro-death penalty activists support it because they believe that these criminal had no compassion towards their victims, and they deserve the same treatment these criminals gave to their victims. However, a few of these criminal are actually the victims because they were convicted for a crime they did not commit. According to a report on, from 1973 until today, 138 prisoners around the nation have been found innocent after being sentenced to death. Out of all those cases, 4 of them were in California. The most recent one was the Oscar Lee Morris cases. Morris was convicted in 1983 and sentenced to death. After 16 years in prison, the main accuser, West later confessed that he fabricated the entire case against Morris. Morris was exonerated from all charges. Some of them were fortunate that before while they were in death rows, DNA analysis, and other types of evidence showed that they were innocent and were exonerated from all charges. However, sometimes it is too late and some inmates have been executed despite of doubt of guilt. Carlos DeLuna, Ruben Cantu, Larry Griffin, Joseph ODell, and David Spence are just a few examples of people who have been executed despite of doubt of guilt. These men will never have the chance to prove their

Ordonez 3 innocence since they are all dead. Californias penal system is not perfect and it is very likely that the people in the system will make mistakes. This is why the death penalty is not the solution. An imperfect system cannot sentence to death criminals because death is irreversible when someone is found innocent or thought to be innocent after execution. The death penalty in California should remove because it does not only punish the criminals, but it punishes the state and its tax payers. The process of convicting someone to death is very long and expense. They are usually longer than regular cases, and they are controversial because they take years and end up costing a lot of money to the state. The current number of prisoner in death rows in California is 714 and since 1974, California has executed only 13 prisoners (one every tree years). (The California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice). The CCFAJ has also stated that the annual cost of the death penalty system is estimated to be $137 million per year. This money could be used for other things like education, public parks, or cleaning the streets. The death rows are extremely long and just keeps getting longer. The criminals is not executed immediately after being sentenced to death. They usually spend year in jail before their execution, wasting tax payers money. Taxpayers have spent more than $4 billion on capital punishment in California since it was reinstated in 1978, or about $308 million for each of the 13 executions carried out since then.(Williams, Carol)Some of these prisoners spend so much time in death row that they die of natural cases in jail. Californians are throwing their money to trash by sponsoring this kind of activity. Despite that it costs more money to kill people rather than to send them to jail for the rest of their lives, California keep doing it. The solution to this problem is to replace the death penalty with life-time-imprisonment without parole. The cost of a system which imposes a maximum penalty of lifetime incarceration

Ordonez 4 instead of the death penalty would be $11.5 million per year. (The CCFAJ). By comparing the cost of death penalty with the cost of life-time-imprisonment, the state would save $126 million a year if it decided to replace death with life time in prison. Some pro-death penalty activist believe that sending them to life-time in prison could result in more crime since criminals could organize the killing of other people while they are in jail, and that is a valid point. However, criminals in death rows still do the same thing. They could spend many years in prison before being executed and that could also lead to organizing other killings. Prisoners normally spend more than a decade in jail before execution or exoneration, and there are some cases of inmates spending more than 20 years in death row. The death penalty does not solve the problem of a potential crime while the criminal is in jail, which is it goal is a death sentence. Life-timeimprisonment without parole is fair to families of victims because they have the relief that the criminal will no longer walk on the streets, and it is fair to tax payers because their money will be spend on something better than killing criminals. By sending this criminals to jail for the rest of their lives, the state avoid irreversible mistakes if any of those criminals is later found innocent, and it strengthens our foreign relationship with allied countries that oppose the capital punishment. In conclusion, the death penalty is wrong because it sends out the massage and it creates problems between us, the United States, and other nations that firmly oppose death penalty as punishment to a crime. Our penal system is imperfect and Morris case is a perfect example of it. Death is irreversible as Carlos DeLuna, Ruben Cantu, Larry Griffin, Joseph ODell, and David Spence will never have the chance to prove their innocence. The death penalty costs too much money to the state and it is hurt Californian as tax payers. The death row just keeps growing and the cost of keeping inmates in it keeps getting bigger. This is why the residents of California

Ordonez 5 need to put pressure on the State Assembly and Senate to stop wasting money on death, so that the money could be spent on education, public services, or the environment. California is better than the "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth principle, and it need to abolish death penalty as punishment for a crime, and replace it with life-time-imprisonment with parole.

Ordonez 6 Work cited

1. Executed but Possibly Innocent. Death Penalty Info. Death Penalty Information Center.2011. Web. 24 July 2011. 2. Innocence Case: 1994-2003. Death Penalty Info. Death Penalty Information Center.2011. Web. 24 July 2011. 3. Sarat, Austin, and Martschukat, Jurgen. Is the Death Penalty Dying? European and American Perspectives. New York. Cambridge University Press. 2011. Print. 4. Saunders, Debra. Death Penalty Foes Self-Fulfilling Prophecies. Fox and Hounds Daily. San Francisco Chronicle, 2011. Web. 3 August 2011. 5. Time on Death Row. Death Penalty Info. Death Penalty Information Center.2011. Web. 24 July 2011. 6. Williams, Carol. Death Penalty Costs California $184 Million a Year. LA Times. Los Angeles Times. 2011. Web. 29 July 2011