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The Death Penalty, The Ultimate Punishment

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The Death Penalty, the Ultimate Punishment

Capital punishment has been in effect since the 1600's. However, in 1972 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty was cruel and unusual punishment, which was unconstitutional according to the Eighth amendment. It was public opinion that the current methods of execution, hanging, electrocution, and facing a firing squad, were too slow and painful upon the person to be executed. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed this decision when a cleaner way to bring about death was found in 1976. This cleaner way is death by lethal injection, which is quick and painless if administered right. The death penalty is a good form of justice because only about 250 people a year get the death penalty and they are guilty beyond a doubt and don't deserve living with the possibility of parole. The sentencing judge or juries are ordered by the Supreme Court to look for specific aggravating and justifying factors in deciding which convicted murderers should be sentenced to death. We can sit here all day and discuss whether or not the death penalty is morally right or morally wrong. I can give you case after case of innocent people who have been brutally and horrifically murdered, sometimes even children, by people who feel no remorse whatsoever for the what they did. These people deserve to die.

The United States today uses five different types of execution in the 38 states that use the death penalty. The twelve states that do not use the death penalty are Alaska, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Of the 38 states that do use the death penalty all of them use Lethal Injection. Ten of the states that use the death penalty use electrocution, those states are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. Four of the states use Lethal Gas, they are, Arizona, California Mississippi, and Wyoming. The 3 that use the Firing Squad are Idaho, Oklahoma, and Utah. The last kind of execution that the United States uses is Hanging, the three states that use hanging are, Delaware, New Hampshire, and Washington.

From 1930 until now there have been 4,838 executions carried out. Almost all of the people who received the death penalty had prior criminal records. According to an online document called;

* 64.3% had a prior felony conviction at the time of the murder.

* 08.0% had a prior homicide conviction at the time of the murder.

* 27.8% were on probation, parole or in jail at the time of the murder.

* 4.4% were incarcerated or had escaped from incarceration.

* 16% had accumulated more than one death sentence

The majority of the criminals have done something before being put to death. If we know that most of these people have been charged for something else why do others still want them to live if there just going to keep doing what they are doing. Capital Punishment is made to scare people out of committing crimes.

If someone knows that if they kill someone they are going to die then they won't want to do anything to take that chance. But if someone knows if all they have to do is sit in jail all day and every now and then have a chance to get out they will take that chance if they get it. Without the death penalty no one would be scared and there would be a lot more crimes being committed. (Stewart)

The Gregg vs. Georgia case in 1976 ruled that capital punishment was constitutional in the United States. "On January 17, 1977 convicted murderer Gary Gilmore told a Utah firing squad, "Let's do it." And became the first prisoner since 1976 executed under the new death penalty laws." (Longley) Just because the Gregg vs. Georgia case said that it was constitutional to execute people didn't mean that every state wanted to. There are still 12 states today that don't use the death penalty because the think that it is wrong and it is cruel and unusual punishment and won't accept it in there state. Some states today still are trying to get rid of the death penalty all together in the United States and they are still going to state courts and sometimes they even make it to the Supreme Court about getting rid of it. But since 1976 nothing has provided enough evidence that capital punishment is cruel and unusual punishment and the United States continues to allow it in all states.

Ernest Van Den Haag wrote a book stating that the death penalty is just a simple idea. He says that the more you use the death penalty, then more people will be scared to commit crimes. If America wouldn't use the death penalty then people would just think that they would just go to jail for a couple of years and every once and a while have a chance to get out and be free to do what ever they want again. He says that the United States is and will always be a better place because of the death penalty. In the 1960s to the 1970s the United State's crime rates were at the highest because they were only executing a couple people a year and no one was really scared to go to jail. Van Den Haag says if America wouldn't use the death penalty then prison would just be a place for the convicts to live and they wouldn't have to be scared of it because they would eventually have a chance to get out again.

Dudley Sharp of states that "Sometime the death penalty is the only appropriate way to deal with the crime committed. He says that is the United States did always try to be perfect it would view capital punishment very differently. If another country would execute an innocent person they wouldn't worry about it as much as the United States would. It is not always easy for juries to sentence someone to death. Sharp says "much more than justice is part of the death penalty discussion today. Opponents are relentlessly attacking the penalty process itself. They insist that it is so fraught with error and caprice that it should be abandoned." He says that anti-death penalty people don't believe that the U.S. media is lying about the 101 innocent people being released from death row since 1973.

The Supreme Court cases have changed and unchanged the future of the United States.

By 1966 opposition to the death penalty had risen significantly, the number of executions in 1966 was just one and in 1967 only two. An article from says that:

In 1972 the Supreme Court ruled in Furman vs. Georgia that capital punishment as practiced in the U.S. was unconstitutional. In a 5-4 vote the court



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