Should the death penalty be abolished? I first chose this topic during our unit two essay, by thinking back to writing an essay on this topic during my junior year of high school. I had to write an essay about the death penalty, how is started, when its proper to use it, how many times its been used etc. It was just a general essay about the death penalty. During my research is when I found out that the death penalty is still legal in 28 states. More than half the nation still practices capital punishment which blew my mind, prior to this I thought there were less than 5 states that still used it. So when I wrote my essay in my junior year I felt we should be writing an argumentative essay on whether or not it should be abolished, which I felt would be a perfect fit for our unit two essay. My goal was to show how serious this subject really is, besides everything else going on in this country now, this is pretty serious as well. Most people overlook it and don’t care as much because its not them or a loved one going to the chair, but the truth is it affects everyone in the state. The average death row inmate cost the state up to 1.2 million. That’s 1.2 million of taxpayers money. Studies show it is significantly cheaper to have someone serve life in prison rather than executing them, which serves the same purpose, no one dies, justice is served, and the state saves money. My intended audience was the everyday taxpayer, I wanted to show them how there money is being used on this. I originally was going to write an informative essay, but that was the complete opposite of what was asked which I failed to realize, I was glad I didn’t go down that route, because it pushed me out of my comfort zone, because that’s all I write. So I decided to write a court transcript. Not only did I enjoy writing this, but I felt it was a good genre for my intended audience, considering all anyone watches is law shows, I felt this wasn’t to boring and it gets the point across.
I first thought of how to start my essay, do I start off with the crime or court? When I Remembered its a court transcript so I created a fake setting and continued with what’s properly said in court “all rise,” “raise your right hand” etc. I established the crime which had to be serious to be considered for capital punishment, so I made my character commit double murder. I wanted to make it obvious he was guilty, and make the reader even consider capital punishment was appropriate, then hit them with the other side of the argument and make them think, instead of feeding it to them. This is when I wrote the juror part which turns the story around. I wanted the reader read this part going in with the same thoughts and coming out reconsidering. The final part of the essay I had to turn into a story format, to make it dramatic and top things off, and leave the reader thinking.
Now that its done I think it turned out pretty good. I enjoyed writing this and will definitely consider writing something like this again. Given all the money and expertise in the world I think I would retire in a state that doesn’t practice the death penalty and live the rest of my life. What I’m happy with most is just getting a chance to write something like this. Very rarely do I actually enjoy writing an essay, but this assignment I had a lot of fun with. I definitely didn’t expect writing something like this coming into college, and my perspective of college in general was changed. I don’t think I will be using anything from this essay unfortunately, moving forward with my English classes, but I must say it was fun while it lasted.
August 8th 1974 12 PM Texas Supreme Court, Austin Texas
People of the State of Texas versus Mr. Richards
Bailiff: All rise. [Wait for everyone-except the judge- to stand.]
Department One of the Superior Court is now in session.
Judge Chamberlin presiding. Please be seated.
Judge: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Calling the case of the
People of the State of Texas versus Mr. Richards. Are
both sides ready?
District Attorney: Ready for the People, Your Honor.
Public Defender: Ready for the defense, Your Honor
Judge: Will the clerk please swear in the jury?
Clerk: Will the jury please stand and raise your right hand? [Wait for
everyone to stand.] Do each of you swear that you will fairly try the
case before this court, and that you will return a true verdict according to the evidence and the instructions of the court, so help you, God? Please say “I do”.
Jury: I do.
Clerk: You may be seated.
Deputy PA: Your Honor and ladies and gentleman of the Jury, the defendant has been charged with assault and two accounts of second degree murder. The evidence will show the defendant’s fingerprints on the loaded nine millimeter pistol found in a dumpster down the road from the victims house, the same bullet used against the two victims. The defendant has used this weapon to murder his victims. The evidence I present will prove to you that the defendant is guilty as charged.
Public Defender: Your Honor and ladies and gentlemen of the jury, under the law my client is presumed innocent until proven guilty, my client was at the cinema at the night of the crime, and has his receipt to a showing at the same time the victims were presumed dead.
Judge: The prosecution may call its first witness.
Deputy DA: The People call John Smith, the neighbor of the two victims to the stand.
John: I recall Mr. Richards being over my neighbors house frequently, he was friends with the two, I came home from work about ten after five and saw his car outside their house when I walked into mine. About a half hour later I heard gunshots and when I ran outside Mr. Richards car was gone.
Deputy PA: and what car does Mr. Richards drive?
John: A red 1973 ford mustang.
Deputy PA: Thank you, that’s all your honor. I would like to call Peter Grimshaw the owner of the movie theater to the stand please.
Deputy PA: Mr. Grimshaw how many showings of “The Great Gatsby” were there the night of July 25th?
Peter: There were only two, one at two PM, and six PM.
Deputy PA: And do you recall selling a ticket to that man? [points to Mr.Richards]
Peter: No sir.
Deputy PA: The witness doesn’t seem to recall selling a ticket to Mr.Richards with a showing just 15 minutes after the two victims were presumed dead. The movie theater is located across town and would have taken Mr. Richards a half hour to get to from the victims house, but somehow got there in fifteen minutes?
Judge: Okay that will be all for now, This trial will continue tomorrow after the Jury has made a decision.
Juror #1: Well I definitely think Mr. Richards is guilty, and I think he deserves to be punished.
Juror #2: I agree all evidence shows he murdered those two men.
Juror #3: I don’t care what it is I need to get out of here I have tickets to a game in an hour.
Juror #4: It doesn’t matter where you have to be we were called to make a decision on this case, and I think he is guilty and should be executed, the same way he shot those men!
Juror #5: Well I don’t think he should be executed, that’s not right.
Juror #4: Damn right he should, he murdered his two friends in cold blood, and he deserves the same!
Juror #2: Well hold off on that I recently read in the paper that last time the court decided on capital punishment, it costed the state over 1.2 million on the guy.
Juror #4: So what it serves justice.
Juror #2: So what? That’s our money there spending.
Juror #5: He’s right my son is a baseball player, and was supposed to play the first game on the new field at main street, if it was to be finished that is. They called off the project because all the states money went to “serve justice” and execute that last time around. I don’t think its a fair way to spend tax payers money, when they could be building fields and parks for our community. I’m sure there’s a better option.
Juror #3: Well your not the only guy waiting on a game, lets just come up with something and get out of here.
Juror #4: Well we aint leaving until we all agree he should executed.
Juror #5: Hey listen, that guy still has a family, think about them.
Juror #4: Well he clearly wasn’t thinking that way when he killed his two friends.
Juror #2: I understand what your trying to get at, but overall I don’t think its worth it, no one should have there life taken number one, and number two were gonna be the ones paying for his ass.
Juror #1: Well think if your child was one of the victims, wouldn’t you want him to be executed?
Juror #2: Well it wasn’t my child and I don’t have to think that way, I don’t agree with the state spending our money on this, there’s better things to spend it on.
Juror #4: So lets put it up to a vote I think he should be executed.
Juror #1: I agree.
Juror #2: No I think he should be sentenced without murder.
Juror #5: Yeah I think that’s fair.
Juror #4: Well what do you think, should he be executed?
Juror #3: Sure, whatever it takes to get me out of here.
Juror #4: Well that does it.
August 9th 1974 12 PM Texas Supreme Court, Austin Texas
People of the State of Texas versus Mr. Richards
Judge: The jury has come to a decision.
Juror #4: Your honor the jury has come to a decision that Mr. Richards is guilty on assault and both accounts of second degree murder, and should be sentenced to death.
Judge: Thank you, This court finds Mr. Richards guilty on assault and second degree murder, and will be sentenced to capital punishment by the state of Texas.
[Mrs. Richards begins to cry and scream and is escorted out of the court room]
One Month Later
[Juror #3 Goes to buy a ticket to a baseball game]
Juror #3: A hundred dollars are you out of your mind?
Tickets salesman: Yeah we’ve had to raise our prices since taxes went up.
[ Juror #2 drives by the half built field on main street with a sign that says “project held off until further notice”]
[ Juror #4 goes to a grocery store where he runs into Mrs. Richards wearing all black, as he thinks to himself was justice really served?]