Death Penalty for First Degree Murder

The death penalty is lawful in the U.S, which is currently being implemented by twenty-eight states, the military, the federal government, and American Samoa. The aforementioned sanction inherently contravenes the constitutional proscription against the unusual and cruel punishment and the justification/grounds for equal protection and due process of law (Ahmad 2015, 140). The paper objects to the notion that there should be a death penalty for first-degree murder.

The death penalty is not dissuasion to capital crimes; it fails as a damper for multiple reasons. A sentence can be an efficacious deterrent only if it is promptly and consistently employed. However, the death penalty cannot be issued to meet the conditions described above. For instance, the number of first-degree murderers, who’ve been convicted to death, is insignificant, and of this grouping, a smaller fraction of individuals have been executed (McFarland 2016, 50). Nevertheless, if severe penalties can deter crimes, then life imprisonment without parole is harsh enough to dissuade a rational person from perpetrating a violent offense.

Capital punishment is also an unfair practice due to racial bias and failure/lack of safeguards. Elementary justice and constitutional due procedures both demand that judicial sentencing and trials be done with rudimentary fairness, mainly when the irreversible effect of the sanction is involved (Ahmad 2015, 142). However, in murder-related cases, there has been considerable proof to demonstrate that courts sentenced some individuals to prison while convicting others to death in an unjust, racially discriminatory, and arbitrary manner.

Unlike other criminal penalties, the death penalty is irreversible/irrevocable. Since 1900, there have been over four cases annually (on average) in which a completely innocent individual was declared guilty of murder. For instance, in 2012, a chronicle included in the Columbia Human Rights Law Review recounted a horrifying case in which Carlos DeLuna was executed in 1989 for a murder he had not committed (McFarland 2016, 52). Capital Punishment has also been identified as anachronistic, inhumane, barbaric, and unjustified retribution.

Alongside Singapore, Taiwan, and Japan, the U.S is among the four advanced democracies and the only developed country in the West, which regularly applies capital punishment. First-degree murderers should not be convicted to death as a sanction for their crimes. Arguments against capital punishment include the fact that it is not dissuasion to capital crimes, it’s an unfair practice; it is irrevocable, and is inhumane and barbaric.


Ahmad, Masoud. 2015. “Worldwide Debate to Abolish the Death Penalty Forever.” International Journal of African and Asian Studies, 14: 139-153.

McFarland, Torin. 2016. “The Death Penalty vs. Life Incarceration: A Financial Analysis.” Susquehanna University Political Review, 7(4): 46-87.

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DemoEssays. "Death Penalty for First Degree Murder." December 24, 2022.