Criminal Justice Advocates Plead for President Biden to Abolish Death Penalty

By John Arceno

WASHINGTON, DC — Opposing President Joe Biden’s stance surrounding the death penalty, his justice department recently endorsed the execution of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his older brother for the bombing of the Boston Marathon.

However, death penalty opponents are pushing President Biden to enforce his opposition against the death sentence, insisting the death penalty disproportionately affects marginalized communities.

They said that, while the intention behind capital punishment is to cultivate a just society, it instead perpetuates injustice.

Proponents of the death penalty argue that it provides justice against victims of heinous crimes akin to the aforementioned terrorist attack in 2013.

The Supreme Court echoes the sentiments of the supporters of death penalty, claiming that the so-called “machinery of death channel(s)…the instinct for retribution.”

But to counter this point, criminal justice advocates noted that capital punishment was first instated to appease lynch mobs and their hunger to murder the Black community.

Knowing that lynching put a strain in America’s reputation on the world stage, the government instead used the death penalty to target Black people, compelling white supremacists to stop lynching altogether.

According to Bryan Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative, 4,000 Black bodies had been lynched between 1877 and 1950. Additionally, southern states have administered more than 1,200 lynchings in the last 40 years.

The racialized deaths of capital punishment remain to linger in contemporary world. Most of the people facing the threat of the death penalty are people of color, with Black Americans filling 40 percent of federal death row prisoners although they only make up 13 percent of the nation’s population.

Capital punishment has been administered to the wrongfully imprisoned, which is allegedly the case for Carlos DeLuna, who was executed for a crime despite the lack of substantial evidence stacked against him.

Unfortunately, this occurrence is not uncommon. A study found that there is a likelihood that at least 1 in 25 people who died via the death sentence was not guilty.

Indeed, studies show victims of the death penalty are likely to have few to no access to financial and legal resources necessary to protect themselves. With systemic barriers at work, marginalized communities are disproportionately victimized by capital punishment.

Opponents of the death penalty have argued that if justice is truly the driving force behind its establishment, then the U.S. must endeavor to abolish it, especially as it continues to harm minority groups.

According to them, the claim that it gives fewer incentives for people to commit crime is unfounded. They said that not only does the death penalty actively harm people of color, it also wastes taxpayer dollars, as it does nothing to effectively combat injustice.

With the machine of death’s guise unraveling, nearly 100 criminal justice leaders have called on President Biden to stop the federal death penalty once and for all. They said that doing so will be a step toward addressing the issue of systemic racism that has plagued the country since its founding.

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  1. Chris Griffith

    The guillotine was originally adopted by the French as an evolved and humane method for taking a human life and, considering what we’ve seen with alternative methods this past century, I have to agree: It’s fast, relatively painless (quite possibly completely painless when one considers the shock reaction of the body,) somewhat messy, but has great symbolic and even theatrical value and you never know maybe somebody might think twice before they kill somebody. Granted the Democrats and power in California hate this device with a fearful passion, but that is actually part of its value.


    1. Bill Marshall

      Chris G.  You talk ‘process’… as do many of those use that, when their main thrust is actually ‘conceptual’… morally (absolute, “thou shalt not kill”); ethically (there are folk who are ‘wrongfully convicted’… not factually guilty of the crime(s)); practical, those who look at the finances (many levels of judicial review, incarceration in the interim, etc.).

      Often those concerns overlap… method is least of those.

      On the other ‘conceptual side of the coin, there is moral (revenge justice, “eye for an eye, etc.); ethical (at least they won’t be able to commit crime again); and financial (let’s find cheapest solution, and perhaps eliminate/reduce appeals, and have the execution at sunrise, following conviction).

      Often those concerns overlap… method is least of those.

      The rub… ex.  many Catholics (and other faith-based) oppose both abortion and the death penalty… others (inc. faith-based) support both… a lot of folk (inc. faith-based) support one, but not the other…

      Abortion (particularly late term) and the death penalty have some things in common… both end human life… those factually ‘innocent’ die (more in one instance than the other)… but no one arguing (well, a very few do) lays their cards on the table, and many argue out of both sides of their mouths… again ‘method’ is least of the concerns… yet, often is the “method” is the one most discussed… go figure…

    2. Alan Miller

      It’s fast, relatively painless (quite possibly completely painless when one considers the shock reaction of the body,)

      The bummer is when you look up from the basket and see your body for a few moments before lights out.

      somewhat messy

      Actually the blood flow stops immediately.  I found a head & body on the tracks by my house from a suicider who self-guillotined, so I can attest to this from witness experience.

      1. Bill Marshall

        Alan M… to the first point (as it were)… many of the sketches of those guillotined during the “reign of terror” were face down, and many accounts of a bodiless scream from the head, when the executioner pulled it from the basket to show all (frequent)… likely an expulsion of air from the lungs, @ the moment of death, that triggered the last remaining reflex from the focal chords… Dr Guillotin favored cutting the spinal column first (toughest tissue), with the soft tissue later… simple mechanics…

        You are correct as to blood flow… arteries and veins tend to collapse when a head/limb is quickly avulsed… most of the blood was ‘drainage’ from the head… Dad was a medic in the Pacific in WWII… what you saw, and what he saw, no one should have to see, and, once seeing it, will always remember… he didn’t talk about the worst much… but I talked with a Marine who knew 5 medics… when he tried to contact them 5 years later, he discovered 3 had killed themselves… Dad’s way of coping was not to think about it, not to talk about it… I think the only one he told about even lesser trauma, was me.

        BTW, “the Mikado” is a great production to see/hear, when discussing capital punishment… but, Alan, think you already knew that… I particularly like the line, “I’ve got a little list, I have a little list…”

        Like the guillotine, imperial/shogun Japan, favored execution by quick beheadment… usually a very sharp, very strong, very quick blow from a samurai sword… other cultures, including Arabic, similar…

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