Death Penalty

Published: 2021-07-19 08:30:06
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American Government 2/26/13 There are many controversial topics in the United States of America. These topics are debated on whether they violate the Constitution and the Bill of Rights or not. One of the most controversial topics is capital punishment. Capital punishment is disputed on whether or not it violates the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. In the span of 32 years, 1997 to 2009, there have been 1,188 people executed (death procon). Numerous capital punishment cases are the execution of murderers; it can also be implemented for treason, espionage, and other crimes.
The types of capital punishment include hanging, firing squad, electrocution, lethal gas and lethal injection. It is widely debated on whether or not these punishments are considered cruel and unusual. To this day capital punishment remains a controversial topic. The death penalty roots back to the 1700s B. C to The Code of Hammurabi. In ancient Babylonia, the first known death penalty laws were written and called The Code of Hammurabi (Historical). This law was implemented for twenty-five crimes including; adultery and helping slaves escape, however murder was not one of them. In the fourteenth century B.C through Hittie Code the death penalty was applied. Draconian Code of Athens, which appeared in the Seventh Century B. C, declared all crimes to be punished with the same punishment, death. After two centuries, in the Fifth Century B. C, Roman Law of the Twelve Tablets was followed. These punishments included death by means such as, crucifixion, drowning, beating to death, burning Sreeram 2 alive and impalement. Afterwards, In the Tenth Century A. D, Britain used hanging as the death penalty. William the Conqueror, from the Eleventh Century A. D, forbid hangings for any crime, besides during war.
However by the Sixteenth Century A. D the law fell through and Henry VIII executed about 72,000 people. For the next two centuries Britain continued to conduct executions for various crimes, by the Eighteenth Century A. D, 222 crimes were punished by death. Britain’s use of death penalty carried over to America when colonization began. The execution of Captain George Kendall was the first recorded use of capital punishment in the new colonies (History). By 1833, public executions were thought as cruel and there was a switch to private hangings. In the 1900s nine states prohibited capital punishment.
In 2002, the Supreme Court ruled the use of death penalty on mentally retarded offenders is unconstitutional. Soon after, the execution of offenders under the age of 18 was also ruled unconstitutional. Currently there are only five methods of execution in the United States, hanging, firing squad, electrocution, lethal gas, and lethal injection. Over the years the death penalty has become more and more limited. Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is widely disputed and argued. Some say it is not cruel or unusual because with the advanced technology of today we are able to execute people painlessly.
However in retaliation people say death is the ultimate punishment, the enormity and finality of it make it unusual. It is also said the death penalty instills fear among the people and prevents them from committing murders. On the other hand, opponents say crime rates indicate no difference among states that abolish capital punishment and ones that practice. Furthermore, the executed are people who deserve to be punished this severely. On the contrary, killing a person who has killed brings forth unnecessary violence. Moreover, killing the culprit Sreeram 3 does not bring the innocent back to life. Mistakes are made in court, but for a case of death penalty extra precautions are taken to prevent mistakes because of the severity of the punishments. In addition, since 1976, when the death penalty was reinstated, there have been no credible mistakes in the executions. Nonetheless, since 1976, 87 people have been freed from death row, which means one out of every seven people executed has been innocent (top). The margin of error should be zero however there is a chance of error. It is better to let many guilty go than let one innocent be killed.
For every pro there is always a con, the question is which one outweighs the other regarding capital punishment. Political leaders, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, and Martin O’Malley have made their opinions on the death penalty clear. President Barack Obama announced his view on death penalty reluctantly. Obama believes death penalty should be reformed but there nonetheless due to the fact that some appalling crimes do deserve the “ultimate punishment” (Obama). Above all, Obama believes in death penalty under “appropriate circumstances” (Obama).
Governor Mitt Romney on the other hand, is completely pro-death penalty. Mitt Romney had put forth a death penalty bill on July 14, 2005. This bill allowed the consideration of capital punishment for those who have indulged in terrorism, killed a law enforcement officer, juror or prosecutor, and judge. It also applied to prolonged torture, multiple murders, and life sentence without parole cases. This bill was rejected in the legislature. In complete opposition of Obama and Romney, Governor Martin O’Malley is against the death penalty all the way. He has taken steps to abolish capital punishment in Maryland.
O’Malley believes in some cases death is too easy for the crimes that the criminals have done, in others he believes taking one life does not bring back another. O’Malley’s bill to repeal death penalty has passed in Senate committee and is being sent Sreeram 4 to the Senate floor for a vote next week. Many states like Maryland have taken steps to abolish the death penalty. Currently there are seventeen states that have abolished capital punishment in the United States of America. As Death Penalty has been a controversial issue over the years and many cases have been brought to the Supreme Courts.
One precedent setting case was Atkins v. Virginia (2001). This case was regarding Daryl Renard Atkins. Atkins was sentenced to death for abduction, armed robbery and capital murder. However, a forensic psychologist testified that “Atkins was mildly mentally retarded” (Atkins). The question raised in this case was is capital punishment fit for mentally retarded people or is it prohibited by the eighth amendment under “cruel and unusual punishment”? After a series of trials the Virginia Supreme Court ruled with a 6-3 vote that Atkins could not be punished with the death penalty because he was mentally retarded.
The court decided that capital punishment should not apply to mentally retarded criminals because it would be deemed as “cruel and unusual”. In addition, these offenders are more impulsive, uncontrollable and do not understand the punishments of the crime. Cases like this have come up all around The United States. Currently by the Supreme Court of The United States there is a ban preventing any mentally retarded person, or under the IQ of 70, to be executed under capital punishment. Due to capital punishment being a very controversial, opinions on this topic are very widespread.
In the late 1930s people in favor of capital punishment were almost double the people against. However, by the 1960s capital punishment became much debated as pro-death penalty was 45% and anti-death penalty was 43% and 11% as no opinion. After two decades, the Sreeram 5 1980s, pro-death penalty percentage was more than double the percentage against. After 32 years the opinion of the people hasn’t changed that much. Now as of the December of 2012, 63% of the population is in favor and death penalty and 32% is not in favor.
The remaining percent was recorded as no opinion (death pen). Over the years never has the anti-death penalty percentage been more than the pro-death penalty, close but never more. The death penalty in many ways is still an immensely disputable topic. Death penalty was originated all the way back in the eighteenth century B. C. Over the years it has been modified and reformed to become today’s capital punishment in the United States of America. Many arguments can be made on the constitutionality, deterrence, retribution, and the irrevocable mistakes of capital punishment.
Yet to this day the government continues to use execution as a type of punishment. As the controversy goes on many cases have been brought to court regarding death penalty, including Atkins v. Virginia. In this case it was ruled that the mentally retarded or under the IQ of 70 cannot be fit for capital punishment, therefor letting Atkins off the hook. Many political leaders have voiced opinions on the death penalty. President Barack Obama is for death penalty under “appropriate circumstances” while Mitt Romney is completely for death penalty (Obama).

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