Saturday, 31 March 2007

ECSU students: Kill death penalty


ECSU students: Kill death penalty

North Carolina should give its death penalty not its inmates a lethal
injection, say several students at Elizabeth City State University.

15 criminal justice students at ECSU debated whether North Carolina should
have a death penalty Monday evening. The debate was part of professor Reed
Adams' criminal justice class. The judges, Cornelius Jones, who is a local
probation officer, and Mike Furey, director of Albemarle Offender Referral
Services, agreed that the team that argued against the death penalty
presented the best case.

However, students for the death penalty argued that the majority of
Americans believe that the ultimate crime the intentional death of
another human being should be met with the ultimate punishment death.
After all, they said, 38 states already enforce a death penalty.

"It is something that the American people support," said junior Carl
Morrison, adding that the 1st execution in the United States took place in

Melissa Kight, a senior, argued that the death penalty violates the 8th
Amendment, which protects criminals from cruel and unusual punishment.

Citing the execution of Alabama inmate John Evans, Kight said it took
prison officials 14 minutes and three 30-second jolts of electricity to
finally kill Evans in the electric chair.

Morrison again rebutted, saying that Kight's argument was "pointless"
because she argued against a form of execution and not against the death
penalty itself.

Senior Jill Perry argued that the death penalty also violates one of the
Ten Commandments, which states it is wrong to kill another human being.

Junior Adrian Johnson said capital punishment saves taxpayers money by not
having to support inmates serving life sentences.

"The economy benefits from a death penalty," Johnson said. But that's not
so, said senior Denetra Moody.

Moody argued that the death penalty actually costs taxpayers more money
because of the many costly appeals a death-row inmate makes before he is

Other students who opposed the death penalty said since the introduction
of DNA evidence in 1993, the number of wrongly convicted inmates who were
freed increased from 2.5 inmates per year to 5 per year. But the students
who favored the death penalty argued that DNA evidence also has helped
authorities ensure they were convicting the right person.

Senior Jarvis Horne said sentencing a murderer to life in prison, where he
had plenty of time to think about his crime, was punishment enough.

Frank Fernandez, also a senior, said that according to the FBI the average
stay on death row was more than 12 years. That's plenty of time for a
murderer to ponder his actions, Fernandez said.

"How much time does the victim have?" Fernandez asked. "None."

(source: Daily Advance)

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