Thou shall not kill or shall thou kill? The question of capital punishment divides among many Americans in this country. I do not believe in the death penalty. The mere thought of taking an individual’s life or the bias factors surrounding the American judicial system disturbs me.
Is there such a thing as a non-bias judicial system in America? No. More than 80 percent of people executed since 1976, the year that the death penalty was reinstated, were convicted of killing white victims, although people of color make up more than half of all homicide victims in the United States, according to the Amnesty International USA website.
This means that although blacks make up the majority of homicides, when a black person kills a white person statistics show that the black murderer is more likely to receive the death sentence.
Forensics is an essential part of the U.S. Judicial system. Forensic scientists have a duty to ensure that the guilty, not innocent, is sentenced to death by providing scientific information and expert opinions to judges, juries and lawyers.
A CNN program that aired October 30, questioned the credibility of forensic laboratories. The program, titled “Reasonable Doubt : Can Crime Labs be Trusted,” was a joint investigation by CNN and the Center for Investigative Reporting examining the lack of standards, quality controls and training at many of the nation’s forensic laboratories and raised uncertainties about some forensic scientists. The program reported that only three states in the U.S. require crime labs to be accredited. Unbelievable! The purpose of accreditation is to assure that some type of standard is being met.
I believe if we simply lived by the “golden rule”, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” the world would be a safer place It may be simple, but it works.
Mia Small is a third year public relations student from Durham, NC. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org