Capital Punishment, The Legal Infliction Of The Death Penalty

1337 words - 5 pages

Capital punishment is the legal infliction the death penalty. It is obviously the most severe form of criminal punishment. (Bedau1) Capital punishment is a controversial way of dealing with violent criminals. The main alternative to the death penalty is life in prison. Capital punishment has been around for thousands of years as a means of eradicating criminals. A giant debate started between supporters and opposers of execution, over the morality and effectiveness of the death penalty. The supporters claim that if you take a life you should pay with your life or 'an eye for an eye'. Opposers of the death penalty bring up the chance of sentencing the innocent and how the death penalty is inhumane. The purpose of this paper is to examine the process of capital punishment and the moral viewpoints on the death penalty.The first evidence of capital punishment is from Hammurabi's code, a book of Babylonian law, from 1700BC. (http://www.schoolsucks) The Bible mentions that execution should be used for many crimes. (Bedau1) One example of the death penalty in the bible is 'Whoever strikes a man so that he dies shall be put to death.' (Exodus 21:12). The bible also suggests stoning a woman if she unmarried sex and had 'wrought folly on Israel by playing the harlot in her father's house' (Deuteronomy 22:21)England recognized seven major crimes that called for execution by the end of the 15th century. These crimes were: murder, theft (by deceitfully taking someone goods), burglary, rape, and arson. As time went by more and more crimes were believed to deserve the death penalty and by 1800 more than 200 crimes were recognized as punishable by death. (Bedau2)It was not long before capital punishment met opposition. The Quakers made first movement against execution. They supported life imprisonment as a more humane justice. Cesare Beccaria wrote On Crimes and Punishment, a book criticizing torture and the death penalty, in 1764. Cesare drove many other philosophers, like Voltaire and Jerry Bentham, to question the validity of using capital punishment. (Bedau2)Contrary to what some may believe the process of sentencing a defendant is a very arduous and time-taking ordeal. After he has been arrested as the suspect of a crime the defendant will either tried in a state or federal court system. The lowest court that a litigant can be sent to is the Court of General jurisdiction (state level) or the US District Courts (federal level). Any time in the trial the defense may choose to appeal. Even if a suspect is sentenced to a crime the case may be appealed for a variety of reasons. The defendant's lawyer could claim that the defendant's rights were violated when he was arrested, that the defendant received an unfair trial, or new evidence that could prove the defendant's innocence has surfaced. (Guernsey,16) Next the appeal is taken to the Intermediate Appellate Courts (state) or the US Courts of Appeals (federal) who will decide if the trial court has erred in some...

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