I left this in a comment to a post I posted well over a year ago. I was responding to someone who indicated that "Todd" (it could be anyone) deserved to be punished for what he did and that death was appropriate. The writer stated that no one should believe that they are above the laws of the nation. My response is below:
Todd should absolutely be punished if he is guilty. It sounds like he is, but he's been awarded a new trial, so we have to see what happens there. However, even if he is guilty, he should not be put to death. The death penalty in North Caolina may be the law in North Carolina but that does not mean it is a good law. Those guilty of certain murders should spend the rest of their days in prison, working hard, and remebering why they were put there. However, the United States and the State of North Carolina should really be more dignified than a capital murderer. We are an upstanding society, but yet we murder our own citizens and call it "justice." Who does death really punish anyway? Once the individual is dead, presumably he or she doesn't realize it. Its his or her family that must deal with the death itself. The true torture of the death penalty is the day-to-day rotting in a 9 ft cell for 23 hours a day wondering what day will be your day to die and the certainly excruciating few hours before they hook you up, put you on display, and inject absolute poison into you.
What is the theory of the US Justice System...punishment, rehabilitation, deterrence? Some say it is a bit of all three. Well, the thing about the death penalty is that its been shown to NOT be a deterrent to murder. Furthermore, if someone knows they are going to die any day, what incentive do they have to become better people? So, for the most part, the death penalty does not encourage rehabilitation. I guess that means that in death penalty states, its all about punishment. In other words, its all about vengence. See, I think human beings are worth more than that, no matter what they've done. I think human beings should be given the chance to change. Many many of them will not, but some will. Its those "some" that deserve the chance. The others can just sit in their cells and stew in their own misery for 50 years or so. Those that rehabilitate will still remain in prison for the punishment and deterrence parts of their imprisonment, but their view will be a bit different because they've changed at least a part of it. Hopefully, those people will then make a difference in the life of someone else.