Capital Punishment misc5 Essay

This essay has a total of 815 words and 4 pages.

Capital Punishment misc5




What is capital punishment? Capital punishment is the maximum penalty of a conviction.
More than 4, 400 people have been executed since 1930. There is no way of knowing how
many people have been executed in U.S. history because they used to be local affairs with
nobody to record them. On the edge of the 21st century, Capital punishment is still one
of the two most debated issues in the U.S., the other is abortion.

This paper will attempt to show the effects of capital punishment and how it is used.

Capital punishment has been a very attention grabbing incident over the years. For
example, in 1936, about 20,000 people gathered in Owensboro, Kentucky, on the morning of
August 14 to see the hanging of a 22 year old black man, Rainey Bethea. Many people have
also died wrongfully. Sacco and Vangetti were two Italian immigrants that were accused of
payroll robbery. Although they had alibis of there whereabouts, they were still convicted
of the crime and sentenced to death by the electric chair.

Nearly every culture throughout history has practiced capital punishment. Quartering was
a popular method in Europe. Quartering is being torn apart by horses. In India,
executions were sometimes carried out by having an elephant crush the condemned’s
head. In modern times, societies have sought to make executions more
“humane.” Such was the goal of the guillotine, which severed the
condemned’s head with a heavy blade, and the electric chair which kills with a
massive dose of electrical current.

The Constitution of the United States guarantees to every citizen certain fundamental
rights. The First Amendment, for example guarantees freedom of religion, speech, press,
assembly, and petition. The Second Amendment promises that “the right of the people
to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” The amendment most relevant to the
issue of the death penalty is the Eighth Amendment. It reads: “Excessive bail shall
not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment
inflicted.” However simple and straightforward these words may sound, its not
always clear what they mean. That is because the words cruel and unusual are subjective.
One person may think, for instance, that capital punishment is cruel and unusual, while
another person may not. In 1972, the Supreme Court declared the death penalty cruel and
unusual, and therefore unconstitutional. It was soon reactivated in 1976 by 35 states.

People have tried to influence decisions on the death penalty. For example, the Pope has
played a role in the decision of the death penalty. The Pope pleaded for a
criminal’s life and the criminal was sentenced to life in jail instead of the
electric chair. Many people that are innocent have been sentenced to death. Harry
Blackman, a death penalty opponent, stated “Innocent persons have been executed and
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