A Country Divided Over the Death Penalty

Death penalty protestersLegal experts say public support for the death penalty in the U.S. will become more emotionally divided after thousands stood up this week to protest Georgia‘s execution of Troy Davis. Others now say capital punishment must be phased out completely.

Pictured: Protesters show their support for death row inmate Troy Davis during a rally at the capitol in Atlanta September 20, 2011. (Photo: Reuters/John Amis)

Analysts believe the execution of Davis has started a new debate over America’s legal system using issues of race, poverty and geographical influences more than discussions about actual crime and punishment.

Statistics now show that about half the country now prefers sentencing convicted murderers to life without parole as the best punishment, rather than invoking the death penalty, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Moreover, a growing number of states are executing fewer prisoners, which is fueling the debate about whether or not America should keep the death penalty in place.

Some say capital punishment cases are diminishing because juries are more leery about sentencing criminal defendants to die unless there is what some experts call the “CSI Effect,” according to statistics from the Death Penalty Information Center.

The center reported that juries delivered 114 death sentences in 2010, which is slightly higher than the 112 death sentences in 2009. What shocked most experts is that this is about 50 percent fewer than the 1990s. There is also more availability of life without parole sentences for juries in capital cases.

Post Mortem, an investigation by NPR, PBS Frontline and ProPublica, recently exposed how death investigation in America is nothing like what you see on TV. Many prosecutors complain that shows like CSI make their job harder, as jurors demand ultra high-tech tests to convict suspects.

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Source: R. Leigh Coleman, Christian Post

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