Barney Brantingham’s piece on the death penalty discussed practically every reason in the book to oppose capital punishment. I feel, however, that the arbitrariness and capriciousness of the death penalty are the most frequently overlooked. In death penalty states, only two percent of all murders result in a death sentence, with geography – and not the viciousness of the crime – being the primary factor determining who lives and who dies. In California, for instance, 85 percent of all death sentences come from only 10 of the state’s 58 counties. It is a blight on our nation’s image to have a system in place that so casually takes the lives of its citizens based on such an arbitrary factor.


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