Death penalty diminishes humanity, highlights crime

By Suzanne Droste 2005

After only 11 and a hlaf hours of deliberation, the six men and six women of the Scott Peterson trial jury sentenced him to death for killing his wife, Laci Peterson, and their unborn child.

As the sentencing was read, Scott sat emotionless taking in the fate that was handed to him — the worst punishment in our justice system, the death penalty. This decision was made after a lengthy and very pubic six-month trial in which Scott was found guilty of 1st degree and 2nd degree murder.

The case began after the body of Laci Peterson and her unborn baby were washed ashore only a couple miles from where Scott had been fishing the day of her disappearance. As other evidence surfaced, including an affair, Scott, who was one the concerned husband and soon-to-be father, became the prime suspect.

From the beginning, the press has widely publicized this crime and its evidence. Though there are murders every day that go unnoticed, for some reason, this particular crime caught our country’s attention and drew us in. Everyone seemed to have his or her own opinion on Peterson’s guilt.

However, throughout the whole investigation and trail. Scott has shied away from the public eye. Many commented on his lack of emotion in the courtroom where he never said a word. Not once did he testify during the arguments or stand to give a plea for his life during the sentencing. All jurors agreed that his disheartening manner was the most unsettling to them, and certainly did not help his case.

On Nov. 12, he ws found guilty of 1st degree murder of his wife Laci, and 2nd degree murder for killing their unborn child. So the question the jury had to answer became, life in prison without parole or the death penalty? The jury chose death.

Our country itself seems to be split on the issue of the death penalty. Some adamantly oppose it, and others feel it is necessary. A quote come to mind in favor of the death penalty: “Society must be cleansed of elements which represent its own death.” A death penalty advocate may explain that a country with murderers would bring about its downfall, so executing criminals isn’t wrong because we are cleansing our society and giving peace to the victims.

However, this quote seems to crumble under its own weight when the readers find that it was said by Hitler.

Realistically, it is never possible to be 100 percent sure that we have found and convicted the right person. All of us are human, so isn’t it possible that jury of 12 people could make a mistake and find the wrong person guilty? Most certainly it is.

Though most prisoners sentenced to death probably did commit their crimes, there is always the possibility of one innocent person being executed for we reason. Are we willing to admit our system may be flawed, and we are killing innocent people?

It is hypocritical to say we are killing someone to punish him or her for crimes, which in most cases are murder. If this were our logic, we would have to punish ourselves for killing as well, because isn’t Scott Peterson a person too? Too many times people do not look to see the person; they see only the crime. Scott Peterson — a murderer, not Scott Peterson, a man.

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