Across the globe, much secular and religious law has arrived at two important conclusions on this question: People should not be tried or executed while in certain mentally ill states nor executed for crimes committed while in certain mentally ill states.
The first is obvious. People who are incapable of defending themselves cannot be given due process, so we do not try them until they are well.
The second is the least obvious. I will focus on just one reason, which is that executing a person who cannot comprehend the moral significance of what is about to happen is wrong, because it is a premeditated deprivation of the person's chance to reconcile himself, whether spiritually or otherwise. Society might have the right to execute, but it does not have rights to plot damnation or to snuff someone out who cannot (as opposed to will not) comprehend society's reasons for doing so. Execution is premised in moral agency, so the executed must be a moral agent at the time of execution for the conditions to be complete.
The third is more obvious, which is that capital punishment is premised in moral agency. Certain conditions rule out moral agency, so the person might be detained due to being a threat because of his conditions, but not executed because he is not a moral agent.
Exempting the mentally ill from the death penalty should be done on a case by case basis. There are some people who are mentally ill who are not in control of what they do and how they react. They should be exempt. And then there are some mentally ill people who act in spite of knowing better. They should be included.
The mentally ill should be exempt from any type of death penalty. It does not make sense to send a mentally ill person to the death penalty when they did not understand what they are doing or were really able to stop themselves. They are not in control of their actions.
The mentally ill should be exempted from the death penalty. They should however be punished by life in prison without parole. We are talking the death penalty here so they must have done something very terrible in society for this to even be a sentence. I think they should not be executed but still get a pretty harsh sentence.
Being mentally ill could be a reason to exempt someone from the death penalty although, if that were the case, I would want to hear a mental health professional explain that this person had the potential to get well. It could be argued that all those on death row have mental health problems. Normal healthy people do not go around brutally murdering others.
Here is a way to look at this: in a case where someone brutally murdered another person, but the murderer had been abused or was substantially mentally ill, look at who caused the illness. Was the cause of the mental illness unjust? Hold the originator of the mental illness liable.
While I disagree with the death penalty in general, it really needs to not apply to those that are mentally handicapped or ill. This is because they often do not understand the ramification of their actions and therefore do not deserve to die. It would be unethical to kill a person that does not understand what they have done wrong.
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If the mental ill did something not in the right state of mind then why should they be punished for something that they had no control over. Plus they deserve to voice what they did wrong and if they can't say what they did wrong because they don't remember they should not be punished for it. Should They?
If they are able to kill someone or do something else that bad they don't need to be on the face of the earth, if someone with a mental illness killed your family would you want them to have special treatment and not be treated the same as if your neighbor did the same thing.
People should be aware of their mental illness. They can't use this as a loophole to escape capital punishment. The opposition stated "Normal healthy people do not go around brutally murdering others", then that means only mentally ill do. However, if they are excused , then nobody is getting the death penalty
I do not believe mental illness should excuse someone from the death penalty. While mental illness is a serious problem and a medical problem that should be addressed, far too many criminals (and especially their lawyers) attempt to use mental illness as an out or an excuse for committing a crime.