The gender bias behind capital punishment


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It is one of the topics in the United States that always receives mixed reviews.

Capital punishment has been part of U.S. history since the beginning.

It is a point of contention that sparks disputes in everyone.

I will say that I am in favor of capital punishment, however there is a side to the death penalty that I feel people do not necessarily think about.

I feel that there is gender bias when it comes to trying women in court.

I am not applying just the death penalty to this.

When it comes to any trial I wonder if juries are more likely to give women lesser sentences than men.

According to the deathpenaltyinformationcenter.org, as of Jan. 1, 2013, there were 63 women on death row.

That constitutes 2.02 percent of the total death row population.

In the U.S. there are currently 3,125 persons on death row.

I would like to say that I do not feel we should sentence everyone to capital punishment if they commit a crime.

I am also not saying that more women should be sentenced to death because of their crimes.
I am saying that I feel women should be tried equally to men in a court of law.

In the past 100 years 40 women have been executed because of their crimes.

These crimes are murder. Something that is interesting to note, is that deathpenaltyinformationcenter.org also reported that it is very rare for a woman to actually have her death sentence followed through.

During an interview conducted by Wordpress.com with Lehigh University law professor Leigh Beinen, Beinen explained that women are seen as less threatening in a courtroom.
I think this is something that people on a jury need to disregard.

I feel a man who has committed a robbery is still less threatening than a woman who killed someone.

There are also numerous precedents that lead me to believe that women are tried differently than men in court.

Guinever Garcia murdered her daughter in 1977 and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Four months after her release from her first offense she killed her estranged husband.

After her second offense she was tried in court and sentenced to death.

Afterward, anti-death penalty advocates looked to state legislation to appeal the sentencing.

Garcia refused to appeal her sentence, but Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar commuted Garcia’s sentence to life imprisonment just hours before Garcia’s scheduled execution.

After Garcia’s sentence was overturned, Edgar commented that, “Garcia’s case was not the worst of the worst.”

Beinen also explained that jurys sometimes link women in with children claiming that women sometimes lose the ability to control their actions.

I feel this is obvious in both genders. It is not about what gender you are, it is about self-control.

Women should not be viewed as weaker in the courtroom.

For more Slate opinion follow @AnaRoseGuenther


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