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Death Penalty: Cruel and Unusual?

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Samantha Bennett ENG 101-150 Professor Batchelor 04/22/2012 Rough Draft Death Penalty: ‘Cruel and Unusual? ’ All over the country the death penalty has been debated on whether or not it should be legalized. This area of research is important because citizens of the United States need to know how they should punish someone. The offender would have to commit a really heinous crime in order to be given the death penalty. Another name for the death penalty is capital punishment. Shockingly, there are more states that have the death penalty than those who do not.

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However, the United States is not the only country that has the death penalty, such as; China, Japan, Jamaica, India, Taiwan, and many others. Citizens of the United States all have different opinions on whether or not the death penalty should be used. Some consider it cruel and unusual punishment, while others think it is fine and even some who think it is okay in some circumstances. So the real question is can the death penalty be considered cruel and unusual punishment? Some people will say yes while others will say no.

The death penalty is considered cruel and unusual punishment because the person sentenced usually gets electrocuted.

There are many different opinions on the death penalty. The death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment. There are three main methods for the death penalty: electric chair, lethal injection, and firing squad. The electric chair is by far the worst choice out of the three. The person sentenced will be electrocuted to death. At least with lethal injection they do not feel anything, except the needle going into their skin. If used at all, the crime would have to be absolutely terrible in order to get sentenced to death. The death penalty is too gruesome to just be given out so easily, there has to be an extreme case for it. Even though he death penalty is not considered harsh and uncommon punishment in a lot of states, the death penalty should be considered cruel and unusual punishment in most, if not all, states. The death penalty violates the constitution. The Supreme Court should not be allowed to sentence someone to death. John Stevens, a justice in the Supreme Court, states: “The Eighth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, however, prohibits the use of cruel and unusual or excessive punishment, and thus protects the wrongdoer from receiving a punishment that is comparable to the suffering inflicted on the victim, in effect negating the possibility of retribution. This depends on who is interpreting what the constitution is saying, it could be someone looking for reasons to ban something. John Stevens later states, “Another serious concern is that the risk of error in capital cases may be greater than in other cases because the facts are often so disturbing that the interest in making sure the crime does not go unpunished may overcome residual doubt concerning the identity of the offender. ” There might be a greater risk to accuse the wrong person. Even though they do a very thorough investigation, there is still that risk.

In normal cases if new evidence turns up and the accused is proven innocent they can let the person go free. According to John Stevens, “A third significant concern is the risk of discriminatory application of the death penalty. While that risk has been dramatically reduced, the Court has allowed it to continue to play an unacceptable role in capital cases. ” This quotation says that, even though it is low, there is a risk of the accused being discriminated against. Depending on who interprets the constitution, it can either violate or agree with it.

If the person interpreting it is against the death penalty, then it is more likely to find evidence against it. The Supreme Court should not be allowed to sentence someone to the death penalty. The Supreme Court has the power to determine whether or not the death penalty should be used. If they do decide to use capital punishment, they also get to decide which method the offender gets. “The U. S. Supreme Court may decide that the electric chair is cruel and unusual punishment or the High Court may decide that the electric chair is cruel and unusual punishment anywhere in the United States” (current events).

The Supreme Court has the power to determine whether or not the electric chair is cruel and unusual. If they decide it is, they could get the death penalty over turned. It is very unlikely to be sentenced to death, but it is possible depending on the crime. Between 1976 and 1988 the execution rate increased but after 1988 they started executing people less. There are still a lot of inmates waiting on death row but they might not get executed now (Current events). Both of these articles so far are basically saying that the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment.

The person who gets sentenced gets electrocuted, injected, or shot. Using the death penalty probably costs more than keeping the offender in jail for the rest of their life. If the offender gets the electric chair, that uses a lot of energy to power, approximately two thousand volts. Using up all that energy at once is extremely expensive. The number of executions has gone down since 1976 because more people are realizing that it is cruel and unusual. Since the Supreme Court has the power to decide to use the death penalty, they should vote against it because it is cruel and unusual.

Capital punishment is considered to be cruel and unusual punishment. As time goes on it gets used less. “The death penalty is getting used less and less as time goes on. More people are deeming it cruel and unusual. The crime has to be pretty extreme in order to get sentenced to death” (Capital Punishment). As more people deem it cruel punishment, less people are willing to use it. They do not want to seem like a cruel person. They also might have realized that keeping them alive in a jail cell is probably worse than killing them.

It is worse because the offenders who regret what they did will have to live with the guilt eating at them every day. The ones who do not regret anything will still be forced to live with the guilt that will eventually surface. It might not be right away but it will happen. “In a homily, the pope called the death penalty ‘cruel and unnecessary’ and expressed opposition to its use. Studies have shown that the usual pattern, especially in death-belt states like Texas, has been the opposite: African Americans who murder whites are four times more likely to receive the death penalty than whites who murder blacks” (Capital punishment).

The pope is even against the death penalty, and in the states that have the death penalty, they usually discriminate by race. Not all of the states do but there are a few like Texas that might. U. S. Bishops state “infliction of the death penalty extinguishes possibilities for reform and rehabilitation and cuts off the possibility of a new beginning and of moral growth in a life which has been seriously deformed” (Capital Punishment). Someone sentenced to the death penalty will not have the chance to be forgiven for whatever they did.

It is not fair to them to not even be given a chance to regret what they did. They will not have the chance to start over and have a better life than they did before. Everyone should be given a second chance to become a better person. It does not work on some people but they still deserve the chance. Capital punishment is cruel and unusual punishment for those who are sentenced to it. The death penalty does not violate the constitution. The Supreme Court should be allowed to sentence someone to it.

According to Antonin Gregory Scalia: “The constitution does not strictly forbid the death penalty; it leaves it in the hands of elected legislatures to decide when and if they should use it. Antonin Scalia states, “The Fifth Amendment expressly requires a presentment or indictment of a grand jury to hold a person to answer for ‘a capital or otherwise infamous crime,’ and prohibits deprivation of ‘life’ without due process of law. ” In order to be given the death penalty the offender must be given an indictment of a grand jury to hold a person for their infamous crime.

Antonin Scalia also says “Justice Stevens’ final refuge in his cost- benefit analysis is a familiar one: There is a risk that an innocent person might be convicted and sentenced to death—though not a risk that Justice Stevens can quantify, because he lacks a single example of a person executed for a crime he did not commit in the current American system. ” Justice Stevens from earlier does not have solid examples of someone who got executed for something they did not do. Later in his article he states, “It is simply not our place to choose one set of responsible empirical studies over another in interpreting the Constitution.

Nor is it our place to demand that state legislatures support their criminal sanctions with foolproof empirical studies, rather than commonsense predictions about human behavior. ” We should not tell the government how it should be run or try and force our beliefs on them. They believe what they want to believe. The Supreme Court should be allowed to do what they feel is best in punishing someone. Some people believe the death penalty is cruel and unusual while others do not. The people that do believe it is cruel and unusual are the ones that want to get it abolished.

The fact of the matter is no matter what we do, not everyone is happy. People will need to have committed some insanely awful crime in order to get sentenced to the death penalty. What our country could do is make the death penalty legal in some states but restrict it to make sure it is fair. That is the only way most people will be really happy with it. Works Cited Capital Punishment ‘Cruel an Unnecessary’. N. p. : America Press Inc. , 1999. N. pag. Education Research Complete. Web. 10 Apr. 2012. http://is-ezproxy01. sunydutchess. du:2060/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer? sid=91fd220a-7e95-4133-bf39-9df6757dc244%40sessionmgr15&vid=7&hid=7 The Electric chair: ‘Cruel and unusual punishment? ‘. issue 14 ed. N. p. : n. p. , 1999. N. pag. Current events: Y2K fears. Ser. 99. Ebsco host. Web. 10 Apr. 2012. Scalia, Antonin. The Death Penalty does not Violate the Constitution of the United States. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2011. N. pag. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 9 Apr. 2012. http://is-ezproxy01. sunydutchess. edu:2229/ic/ovic/ViewpointsDetailsPage/ViewpointsDetailsWindow? isplayGroupName=Viewpoints&disableHighlighting=false&prodId=OVIC&action=e&windowstate=normal&catId=&documentId=GALE|EJ3010313214&mode=view Stevens, John. The Death Penalty Violates the Constitution of the United States. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2011. N. pag. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 9 Apr. 2012. http://is-ezproxy01. sunydutchess. edu:2229/ic/ovic/ViewpointsDetailsPage/ViewpointsDetailsWindow? displayGroupName=Viewpoints&disableHighlighting=false&prodId=OVIC&action=e&windowstate=normal&catId=&documentId=GALE|EJ3010313213&mode=view

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Death Penalty: Cruel and Unusual?. (2016, Oct 26). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/death-penalty-cruel-and-unusual/

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