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Is The Death Penalty Right Or Wrong?

2692 words - 11 pages

The death penalty is a major issue that brings up a lot of controversy in our society. The most important question concerning the death penalty is whether it should be abolished or not. Many people think that the death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights and that it also violates the right to life. Some say it is cruel, inhumane, and a degrading type of punishment. Other people are for it and believe that we need to weed out the bad and seed in the good, no matter what type of actions we take. I feel that the death penalty should be looked at very carefully before we even consider using it.The death penalty was originally derived from the early English law. Death was formerly the penalty for all criminals who committed a felony. The death penalty was explained as the legal killing of criminals by carrying out a death sentence, known as capital punishment. In reality, this death penalty law was never applied as widely as the law intended it to. Instead, a variety of procedures were adopted to decrease the harshness of this law. Many offenders who committed capital crimes were sentenced to death. The other offenders were pardoned on conditions that they agreed to be transported to what were then the American colonies, or unless they were found to be a priest. They did not have a chance to prove their innocence. Those were the only ways around the death penalty in the early years.In the United States, the earliest recorded execution committed under state authority was in 1864. From 1864-1890, 57 people were executed under state authority. Since the 1960's, 100% of the executions performed under civil authority have been state executions. The power for local governments to perform executions dropped greatly during this century mainly due to increased technology. Improved technology made it easier to centralize the decision-making process about executions with state governments. From 1930 to 1933, 4,085 prisoners were executed in the United States. In 1972, the Supreme Court ruled that laws regulating the death penalty in various states were defined as being unconstitutional in the form in which existed at that time. This ruling prevented any executions from taking place, no further questions. In 1976, however, the Supreme Court upheld revised state laws regarding capital punishment, which made it legally possible again for states to carry out death sentences. From 1977 to 1993, 226 prisoners were later executed. This didn't happen in every state though. Capital Punishment offenses differ between the states, and not all states have a death penalty. Most states with the death penalty choose first-degree murder as a capital offense. Some federal crimes also can be considered capital offenses. Some of these crimes involve contract killing, killing on-duty law enforcement officer, espionage, or assassination of the President, Vice President, a member of Congress, or a Supreme Court Justice. If one was willing enough to take away another...

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