Several different issues must be considered insofar as capital punishment in our country.  The Death Penalty today is a multi-faced concern where considerations must be given to the following:

1.  The Cost of Capital Punishment

For those focused upon finances and taxpayer dollars, the reality is that sentencing someone to death, rather that LWOP (life without parole), is very, very expensive.  LWOP costs less, so why not opt for it? Read:

2.  Lethal Injection and Alternative Execution Methods

Over the centuries, the state has used all sorts of methods to end the life of someone deemed worth of death by those in power.  Today, lethal injection is the common method used in our country to execute the condemned.  However, more and more it is being challenged as cruel and unusual punishment.  States do have options on the books that can substitute for lethal injections without any new legislation; among them, firing squads and gas chambers.  What is the most humane way to execute someone?  For more, see:

3.  Mental Illness and Intellectual Capacity

Mental illness must be considered not only at the time of the crime for which the condemned has been sentenced to die, but also at the time the execution is scheduled to take place.  A similar concept, but distinct from psychological issues, is the lack of understanding and comprehension that goes along with intellectual limitations.  Should someone who is mentally ill or intellectually challenged be executed?  Read:

4.  Race and Gender

Studies time and again reveal that the race of those sitting on our country’s Death Rows does not jive with the racial percentages of our population.  Why not?  And what about gender?  Women on Death Row are another controversial issue to be considered.  Read:

5.  Prosecutors and the Death Penalty

The power of prosecutors in death penalty cases cannot be underestimated.  First, it is the prosecutor who makes the decision to seek capital punishment at the trial level.  Second, it is the prosecutor who tries the case and determines what evidence is presented at trial (both guilt and penalty phases).  Finally, it is the prosecutor who has the ability to sway to results through ineptitude or immorality concerning the underlying investigation and discovery process.  See:

6.  Effective Defense Counsel

Finally, the defense lawyer who represents the individual who is being tried in a case where the state is seeking the Death Penalty has an enormous responsibility.  He or she must advocate in both a guilt-or-innocent trial as well as advancing mitigating factors in any subsequent penalty phase.  It is a tremendous burden, professionally and personally.  There is also the added pressure of financing.  Capital cases demand cost expenditures that quickly add up, from expert analysis for factual issues at trial to mitigating considerations at the sentencing hearing.  Read: