The death penalty has been a controversial topic within the realm of United States justice for centuries now. PHD scholar Hugo A. Bedau, author of "The Death Penalty in America", defines capital punishment is the lawful infliction of the death penalty. The death penalty is unjustified within the domain of the United States because of its failure as a deterrent to crime, its inherent unfairness, and its cruel usage. Although some argue that the death penalty serves as a vital deterrent to crime in America, state executions have no distinguishable effect on crime. Despite the abandonment of the death penalty by the rest of the western world, advocates for capital punishment such as New York Mayor Edward Koch assert the death penalty is a necessary component of a "society in which injustice is not tolerated" where "incidents of murder – will diminish" (Current Issues 484). However, there is little systematic research to support the claim that executions reduce the incidents of murder. .
The death penalty does not deter crime. In the study titled "Do Executions Lower Homicide Rates?: The Views of Leading Criminologists" by Michael L. Radelet and Traci L. LaCock analyze the validity of an exhaustive list of studies pertaining to the correlation between executions and homicide rates. They demonstrate the unequivocal consensus of leading criminologists that the empirical research supports the conclusion that capital punishment does not deter any more than long imprisonment. The death penalty is an ineffective punishment that does not ensure public safety as Koch would argue. The success of imprisonment as a deterrent alone shows that a society where injustice is not tolerated can exist without the necessity of death as a punitive tool. The vast amount of murders are committed unpremeditated. Most capital crimes are crimes of passion, where the consequences of the crime are obscured to the perpetrator when the crime is committed by the abandonment of logical reasoning due to emotional stress, the influence of drugs, or mental illness.