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Criminal defense advocates predict end of the death penalty

Advocates for the fair treatment of those with criminal allegations have been discussing for a long time whether the death penalty is an appropriate punishment. Many criminal defense attorneys and advocates agree that capital punishment is cruel and unusual punishment, and that no crime should warrant being put to death. The death penalty is still legal in California, but the President/CEO of the NAACP predicts that it's possible to do away with the death penalty throughout America within ten years.

He cites Maryland's recent vote to abolish the death penalty, and the fact that six states have put an end to the punishment in six years. If the death penalty is repealed from 26 states, the issue can go to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the NAACP's president predicts this can be a real possibility soon.

There are several reasons to abolish the death penalty, he says. Murder rates are lower in states that don't practice capital punishment. The cost of an execution far outweighs how much it costs to imprison someone for life, and this money can be diverted instead to helping the families of the victims. It's been shown that race plays a role in who receives the death penalty, and most people on death row weren't able to afford their own defense attorneys.

Probably the most compelling argument against capital punishment, says the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, is the risk of executing an innocent person.

This year, four more states will be reconsidering their standing on the death penalty. With such a strong focus on the issue in recent years, perhaps it's time for America to reconsider the way it treats those with a criminal conviction, especially if there is a chance of accidentally putting to death someone who is innocent.

Source: Forward Times, "NAACP President Sees End to Death Penalty in 10 Years," Hazel Trice Edney, Mar. 20, 2013

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