The significant role of race in determining death penalty sentences

The two accused in this matter were convicted in the Witwatersrand Local Division of the Supreme Court on four counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and one count of robbery with aggravating circumstances.

The significant role of race in determining death penalty sentences

Brain death no neuronal activity Pallor mortispaleness which happens in the 15— minutes after death Livor mortisa settling of the blood in the lower dependent portion of the body Algor mortisthe reduction in body temperature following death.

This is generally a steady decline until matching ambient temperature Rigor mortisthe limbs of the corpse become stiff Latin rigor and difficult to move or manipulate Decompositionthe reduction into simpler forms of matter, accompanied by a strong, unpleasant odor. For example, brain death, as practiced in medical science, defines death as a point in time at which brain activity ceases.

As a point in time, death would seem to refer to the moment at which life ends. Determining when death has occurred is difficult, as cessation of life functions is often not simultaneous across organ systems. This is difficult, due to there being little consensus on how to define life.

This general problem applies to the particular challenge of defining death in the context of medicine. It is possible to define life in terms of consciousness.

When consciousness ceases, a living organism can be said to have died. One of the flaws in this approach is that there are many organisms which are alive but probably not conscious for example, single-celled organisms.

Another problem is in defining consciousness, which has many different definitions given by modern scientists, psychologists and philosophers. Additionally, many religious traditions, including Abrahamic and Dharmic traditions, hold that death does not or may not entail the end of consciousness.

In certain cultures, death is more of a process than a single event. It implies a slow shift from one spiritual state to another.

The significant role of race in determining death penalty sentences

Thus, the definition of "life" simultaneously defines death. Historically, attempts to define the exact moment of a human's death have been subjective, or imprecise.

Death was once defined as the cessation of heartbeat cardiac arrest and of breathingbut the development of CPR and prompt defibrillation have rendered that definition inadequate because breathing and heartbeat can sometimes be restarted.

Events which were causally linked to death in the past no longer kill in all circumstances; without a functioning heart or lungs, life can sometimes be sustained with a combination of life support devices, organ transplants and artificial pacemakers.

Today, where a definition of the moment of death is required, doctors and coroners usually turn to "brain death" or "biological death" to define a person as being dead; people are considered dead when the electrical activity in their brain ceases.

Capital punishment in the United States - Wikipedia

It is presumed that an end of electrical activity indicates the end of consciousness. Suspension of consciousness must be permanent, and not transient, as occurs during certain sleep stages, and especially a coma. In the case of sleep, EEGs can easily tell the difference. The category of "brain death" is seen as problematic by some scholars.

These patients maintained the ability to sustain circulation and respiration, control temperature, excrete wastes, heal wounds, fight infections and, most dramatically, to gestate fetuses in the case of pregnant "brain-dead" women.

Eventually it is possible that the criterion for death will be the permanent and irreversible loss of cognitive function, as evidenced by the death of the cerebral cortex. All hope of recovering human thought and personality is then gone given current and foreseeable medical technology.

Inthe Terri Schiavo case brought the question of brain death and artificial sustenance to the front of American politics. Even by whole-brain criteria, the determination of brain death can be complicated.

EEGs can detect spurious electrical impulses, while certain drugshypoglycemiahypoxiaor hypothermia can suppress or even stop brain activity on a temporary basis. Because of this, hospitals have protocols for determining brain death involving EEGs at widely separated intervals under defined conditions.

Legal death The death of a person has legal consequences that may vary between different jurisdictions. A death certificate is issued in most jurisdictions, either by a doctor, or by an administrative office upon presentation of a doctor's declaration of death.

Premature burial Antoine Wiertz 's painting of a man buried alive There are many anecdotal references to people being declared dead by physicians and then "coming back to life", sometimes days later in their own coffin, or when embalming procedures are about to begin.

From the midth century onwards, there was an upsurge in the public's fear of being mistakenly buried alive, [17] and much debate about the uncertainty of the signs of death.

Various suggestions were made to test for signs of life before burialranging from pouring vinegar and pepper into the corpse's mouth to applying red hot pokers to the feet or into the rectum.Race is a Significant Factor in the Death Penalty As a society we cannot change the past, but we can act to transform our future.

Studies spanning more than 30 years, covering virtually every state that uses capital punishment, have found that race is a significant factor in death penalty cases. A study of death sentences in Connecticut conducted by Yale University School of Law revealed that African-American defendants receive the death penalty at three times the rate of white defendants in cases where the victims are white.

Death is the cessation of all biological functions that sustain a living organism. Phenomena which commonly bring about death include aging, predation, malnutrition, disease, suicide, homicide, starvation, dehydration, and accidents or major trauma resulting in terminal injury.

In most cases, bodies of living organisms begin to decompose shortly after death. đŸ”¥Citing and more! Add citations directly into your paper, Check for unintentional plagiarism and check for writing mistakes.

by Richard C. Dieter, Esq. Executive Director, Death Penalty Information Center June It is tempting to pretend that minorities on death row share a fate in no way connected to our own, that our treatment of them sounds no echoes beyond the chambers in which they die.

Such an illusion is ultimately corrosive, for the reverberations of injustice are not so easily confined. Listen to DPIC's Podcast on Race Racial bias has always been a significant issue in death penalty debates. There have been many careful statistical studies indicating that race plays a significant role in determining who lives and who dies.

Racial Bias | National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty