Racial Discrimination in Capital Punishment for Crimes of Murder or Rape and Its Abolition in Canada

Racial Discrimination in Capital Punishment for Crimes of Murder or Rape and Its Abolition in Canada

Document details
Category: Legal Studies and Law Essay
Subcategory: Law and Society
Words: 4757
Pages: 7

At present, there are thirty-six states in the United States and over one hundred countries that have legislation enforcing capital punishment for crimes of murder or rape. In Canada the death penalty was abolished in 1976, due to the fact that it infringes on the rights of Canadians as documented by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.1 Also, there was much influence from the citizens of the country to debate this very serious topic. Capital punishment regardless of the crime committed is legally wrong, and represents a total disregard for human dignity. By examining issues of discrimination, the severity of the punishment, the fact that retribution is unjustified, and concerns with deterrents, illustrates that the death penalty violates the basic rights of individuals. In viewing the legal rights of citizens particularly in Canada supported by the morality of this judgement, it is easy to see why this punishment no longer exists in Canada. From established statistics it was found that there seems to be a striking correlation between the race of the offenders and the probability of them receiving a death sentence. In capital cases, black defendants statistically receive the death sentence more that the white defendants. This evidence of discrimination is confirmed by a study of the outcome of murder cases in Ohio between 1974 and 1977. 'In cases where the victim was white and the offender was black, there was a twenty five percent chance that the punishment will be death. By contrast, during this time period there was no chance that whites who killed blacks would receive the death penalty.' 'Thus, judges and juries judge that blacks killing whites deserve more severe punishments that the whites killing blacks.' These results clearly suggest that the sentencers were strongly influenced by discrimination.2 The flagrant racial discrimination that influences the outcomes of capital cases renders the death penalty unconstitutional. The unequal distribution of death sentences between blacks, and whites...

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