Sample Ethics Critical Thinking Paper on Death Penalty for First-Degree Murder

The seriousness of first-degree murder calls for the most adverse punitive measures. The severity of the crime leads the state law stipulates conviction to a death penalty. The actual sentencing options available for first-degree murder vary across states.  Some states have enacted laws that prohibit the death penalty leaving a way to life imprisonment without possibility of parole (“First-Degree Murder Overview:: Justia”). However, some other states allow sentencing by the death penalty. Punishing first-degree murder by issuing a death penalty has become the source of conflict among the jury, advocates, and other persons of interest.

I strongly feel that, regardless of the gravity of the crime, it is ethically wrong to take away another person’s life intentionally. This argument fits the discussion that first-degree murder should not necessarily invite a death penalty. There are numerous other approaches to consider in deciding a case of first-degree murder, just as the circumstances around the occurrence. A defendant is entitled to raise in his defense argument to show that the prosecution has not elements necessary for the classification of the case as first-degree murder. For instance, the defendant may argue that the killing was accidental and therefore could not be premeditated. 

Another argument against imposing death penalties on first-degree murder is that the incidence could be a result of self-defense or the defense of others. In such a case the defendant might argue and convince the court that they were not only scared and intimidated but also that the presenting threat placed them in reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm. This could mean that the force applied in defense and eventually causing death is proportional to the perceived threat.

Besides establishing the factors around the first –degree murder and applying the most punitive measures on the defendant, it begs the question of morally and value of human life. While it may seem the most appropriate design to deal with perceived threats, punishment by the death penalty is not right in any way. The adage of two wrongs do not make a right is very telling in this debate especially with the American religious foundation’s context.

Work Cited

“First-Degree Murder Overview :: Justia”. Justia.Com, 2019, Accessed 9 Apr 2019.