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Scott Zielinski

Persuasive Speech
Issue: Death Penalty

Attention Getter:
Relevance to the audience: Anyone can be a victim in a homicide.
Proposition and reasons: I believe we should place a ban on capital
punishment because:
A. There are other ways to deal with convicts.
B. Innocent people have been given the death penalty.
C. The very thing we use to deal with these criminals is the crime that
they committed.

The first reason I believe we should place a ban on capital punishment is
because there are other and more appropriate ways to deal with these criminals.
A. According to Peter Katel of CQ Researcher, in an article written on June
15, 2013, Dr. E. Torrey, a psychiatrist with the Stanley Medical
Research Institute in Maryland, estimates that 10% of all U.S.
Homicides are committed by severely mentally ill people. Torrey goes
on to state that more mentally ill people are currently incarcerated
rather than being treated at a hospital.
1. Instead of putting them to death, why not help them? Why should
we kill them for ill brain chemistry and mechanics? These people
deserve the help they need.
2. 10% of all homicides! Thats a good slice of pie. If resources were
spent to care for them and create awareness, clearly, the homicide
rate in this country will drop.
B. Peter further states that mass killings are a result of mental illness.
1. In Tuscon, AZ, Jared Loughner who killed six, wounded 13, has been
waived of the death penalty due to mental illness. Loughner suffered
from schizophrenia.
C. According to Doris James from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, it is
reported that a large number of untreated mentally ill people wind up
in jail.

1. More awareness is needed in order to prevent these crimes from

happening in the first place. If these people get help sooner, maybe
the crime is prevented. It is a lesson we have learned in order to
prepare us for future situations.
2. Mental illness may complicate the question of criminal responsibility
but a growing number of cases in which prisoners who are found
innocent following years of imprisonment under penalty of death raises
questions about police, prosecutorial, and judicial fault or culpability.

The second reason I believe we should place a ban on capital punishment

is because innocent people have been convicted, jailed, and given the
death penalty.
A. According to Peter Katel of the previously mentioned article, 18 states
have placed a ban on capital punishment since its reinstitution in 1978.
And of the states that retain the death penalty, fewer criminals are
being sentenced to death. Of the 18 states, Maryland is the most
recent state to ban capital punishment.
B. Maryland Governor Martin OMalley is quoted in saying There is no
way to reverse a mistake if an innocent person is put to death on
March 15 2013 before he signed the appeal.
C. According to Kim Severson of the New York Times on Aug. 17,
2012,Sony Pictures released a documentary titled West of Memphis in
which three men are convicted of the murders of three boys in
Arkansas, 1993. The men were released after 17 years of wrongful
imprisonment. One of the men had been sentenced to death. The state
would go on to say that its evidence against the men was weak.
1. The worst thing about wrongful convictions is that every time an
innocent person is jailed, the murder or rapist or whatever may still be
at large committing more crimes. One thing people may not consider is
that wrongful convictions weaken public trust in the criminal justice
2. Cant imagine the physical and psychological damages sustained by
these men and women.


The third reason I believe we should place a ban on capital punishment is

because having a death penalty makes us the criminals we are punishing
in the first place.
A. The article goes on and says that former San Quentin Prison warden
Jeanne Woodford is now an anti-death penalty crusader.

1. The definition of a civilization is that the people who live within said
civilization know the difference between right and wrong. Thats why
we have laws in place. The warden knows this better than most people.
One of the responsibilities of the warden is to oversee executions.
Death changes people. When forced its not natural. Its sinister, cold,
and wrong.
2. I bet most, but not all, of the people voting and arguing for capital
punishment have ever witnessed life being taken away.
B. According to Paul Elias in an article from the Huffington Post on
November 7, 2012, Proposition 34, an appeal to capital punishment in
California, would have converted 726 inmates to life in prison without
chance of parole. 34 also included a $100 million fund to help solve
unsolved rape and murder cases.
1. This is exactly what we need. No longer will people have to suffer. In
the end, death is the worst possible thing for an organism. How can
you, as a human being, take the life of another human being. This
proposition could have solved many problems that follows capital
punishment. There may be some innocent people in the 726 and they
will have never known freedom if they were to be killed. With crime
declining, more room can be made in the prisons.
C. Having a capital punishment teaches the condemned nothing.
According to an unknown author from listverse.com on June 1, 2013, a
convicts time in prison is meant to deprive them of their freedom to
go wherever and to do what they want to do when they want to do it.
1. Give child learning example.

I believe there should be a ban on capital punishiment because:

A. There are other methods in dealing with these criminals.
B. Innocent people have been convicted and given the death penalty.
C. We become the criminals ourselves

Works Cited

Elias, Paul, California Death Penalty Ban Rejected by Voters, Huffington Post, 7
November 2012. Web.
26 April 2014
Five arguments for and against the death penalty, listverse.com. Web. 26 April
James, Doris, Mental Health Problems of Prison and Jail Inmates, Bureau of Justice
and Statistics,
September, 2006, http://bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/mh.ppjl. Web. 26 April 2014
Katel, Peter, Death Penalty, CQ Reseacher, June 15 2013. Web. 26 April 2014
Statement from Governor Martin OMalley on Passage of Death Penalty Repeal in
Maryland, Office of
Governor Martin OMalley. March 15 2013. Web. 26 April 2014
Severson, Kim, West Memphis Three, a Year out of Prison, Navigate New Paths,
New York Times, 17
August 2012. Web. 26 April 2014