Term paper on The Death Penalty in the Movie The Life of David Gale

It is known that the issue of the death penalty is a debatable one in our society. Some people protest against this type of punishment, while others support it. The opponents are sure that the death penalty should be abolished as it is subject to errors that can never be reversed. The supporters state that the death penalty is the only way to punish criminals for their violent crimes. The death penalty is “when the government takes a person’s life as a punishment for wrongdoing” (Stearman 6). As the pros and cons of the death penalty are widely debated in our society, the movie The Life of David Gale (2003) can help to better understand the nature of this type of punishment. The movie The Life of David Gale (2003) directed by Alan Parker and written by Charles Randolph can be viewed as an American drama.

The plot of the movie The Life of David Gale proves the fact that any crime can be easily staged in order to punish an innocent person.  The main character of the movie is David Gale, a Texas professor and an active advocate for the elimination of the death penalty in the United States. He is falsely accused of the rape and murder of his fellow activist Constance Harraway. He relates his story to Bitsey Bloom, a reporter from a news magazine who visits him on death row. A surprise twist ending of the movie in which David Gale is executed for the false rape accusation, and the reporter Bloom has no enough time to give the tape with the details of the crime to the authorities, can be viewed as a trenchant argument against the death penalty. In this story, David Gale and Constance Harraway wanted to prove the fact that the death penalty does not guarantee a just punishment that an accused person is really guilty and should be executed.

Taking into consideration the case of David Gale, the opponent of the death penalty, who at the cost of his life and the life of his fellow activist decided to prove the society that the death penalty is wrong as it can lead to fatal mistakes and deaths of innocent people, I should say that the death penalty is really a serious punishment. Today the death penalty is the most severe punishment a government can use on the citizens who violate the established laws, rules and regulations. Of course, such severe methods can be effectively used to stop violent crimes in future, because the death penalty “deters other criminals, brings relief to victims and overall, makes society safer for everyone” (Stearman 8). However, the death penalty has no place in our society, because it is cruel and immoral to kill people. I am sure that it is possible to imprison criminals for life, but not to kill them, because the death penalty can be used in unfair and discriminatory ways caused by wrong accusations. I cannot but agree with Davis Gale’s arguments against the death penalty in our society. It is clear that the death penalty is an irrevocable sentence. Once a criminal is executed, nothing can be changed to restore justice and make amends if a person has been falsely accused of the murder.

The statistical data shows that there have been a large number of cases with mistakes in sentencing criminals to death. It is found that since 1973, more than 650 people have been executed without evidence of their innocence which emerged later, after their death (Stearman 26). It means that the death penalty system of punishment is unreliable. Serious errors are contained in 2/3 of all death penalty trials (Ballhaus 93). The major causes of wrong accusations for the death penalty include witness lying, actual legal mistakes, judicial mistakes, incompetent attorneys, etc.

I am against the death penalty, and as an activist against the death penalty, I would defend my position through the use of media. I would inform all people of the mistakes made by the courts and describe the cases when innocent people have been wrongly executed. In addition, I will discuss the major causes of false accusations. Many attorneys fail to perform their duties in a proper way, as they do not search for the appropriate evidence that can prove that a person is not guilty. Many judges make serious mistakes in sentencing. Many police officers and investigators “wrongfully suppress critical evidence”(Ballhaus 94). Of course, all citizens of our country should know the truth about these mistakes. I am sure that the media is the most effective method to explain people that the death penalty can lead to the deaths of innocent people and to sufferings of their family members. I argue that those judges, police officers, investigators and attorneys who continue to make mistake must be impeached and punished.

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