Research Proposal: Capital Punishment

Table of Content

There is considerable debate and controversy surrounding the use of the death penalty in American society. Different viewpoints exist regarding its social correctness and justice.

The death penalty, also referred to as capital punishment, is a verdict given to individuals convicted of grave offenses. As stated on, this verdict is currently in effect in 33 states. Since April 1, 2012, a cumulative total of 3,170 prisoners have been awaiting execution in the history of the United States. Nonetheless, it should be acknowledged that two inmates in New Mexico and eleven inmates in Connecticut remain at risk of facing execution since the law does not apply retroactively to them.

This essay could be plagiarized. Get your custom essay
“Dirty Pretty Things” Acts of Desperation: The State of Being Desperate
128 writers

ready to help you now

Get original paper

Without paying upfront

The fairness of the death penalty in the United States is a subject of ongoing debate. Over the past few years, 141 cases resulting in acquittals have been recorded across 26 states since October 1, 2012. This raises important questions about the right to die and whether seeking revenge can truly bring justice. It also draws attention to concerns regarding mentally incapable offenders who face capital punishment for crimes that require intellectual capacity.

Considering the 141 exonerations, states with death row should exercise greater caution when sentencing inmates to death. The death penalty is a serious punishment that raises concerns about its moral validity and how society perceives it. Should individuals who are mentally incompetent be allowed to receive the death penalty? Moreover, in light of numerous instances where inmates on death row were later proven innocent of capital crimes, states supporting the death penalty should show more restraint.

The death penalty is a significant matter that affects both individuals like myself and the criminals who may face it. It is an extremely severe punishment with no chance of redemption; once imposed, it leads to execution. This issue deserves careful thought and is unfair for innocent individuals who might still be subjected to this penalty. While some argue that the death penalty is suitable for those who have committed terrible crimes, it’s important to remember that two wrongs don’t justify or validate an act of goodness.

The Information Center provides statistics on inmates facing the death penalty. While not all states have this sentence, a total of 3,170 inmates in the United States have faced it since 1968. California alone has had 724 inmates, the highest number among all states. The number of executed inmates has significantly increased from 539 in approximately 1979 to 2007 to 3,215. This database is crucial for my research paper due to the statistical evidence it provides on inmates charged with the death penalty.

Understanding the quantity of inmates on death row allows me to improve my comprehension of crime rates in each state by considering the individuals accused of murder, as only those facing murder charges can be sentenced to death row according to the eighth amendment.

The facts about the eighth amendment in America, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishments (Masci 1), are depicted in an overview of the death penalty. The debate over capital punishment has been ignited by two significant cases, namely Baze v. Reese and Kennedy v. Louisiana.

The first case sparks a heated debate on whether execution by lethal injection is both inhumane and a violation of the eighth amendment. The second case further fuels the controversy by allowing capital punishment for individuals found guilty of raping a child under 12 years old (Masci 1). Public opinion regarding capital punishment has fluctuated over time. According to a 2007 poll conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Pew Research Center for the People of the Press, “Currently, 62 percent of the population supports the use of capital punishment for those convicted of murder” (Masci 2).

According to Masci, the fur man decision led to the effective overturning of all death penalty statutes and the commutation of death row inmates’ sentences to life in prison in 32 states (Masci 2). Understanding the history of the death penalty and the impact of the Baze v. Reese case on the eighth amendment provides significant evidence for my research paper. This article supports my three main points, which argue that executing a criminal does not justify the crime committed by them.

The Wall Street Journal article details the horrifying mass shooting that took place at the Century Aurora movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. The perpetrator, James Holmes, had carefully planned his attack to occur during the midnight premiere of “The Dark Night Rises”. As audience members, including young adults and teenagers, as well as children, gathered to enjoy the film, Holmes entered through an emergency exit and began firing shots. A witness named Corbin Dates, who was 23 years old and present at the theater that night, shared how he initially mistook the intruder for being part of a stunt related to the movie.

According to US News, initially amidst the screams from the crowd, an individual believed the incident was part of the show. However, this perception quickly changed when witnessing a man throwing a gas canister and firing shots. Shortly thereafter, James Holmes was apprehended in the parking lot of the movie theater. Due to his horrifying act resulting in 12 fatalities and 58 injuries, he fulfills the criteria for a death row sentence, particularly given that Colorado allows capital punishment. James Holmes pleaded insanity.

This article is significant for my research paper as it supports my second main point about mentally incompetent inmates being exempt from the death penalty. According to the police (US News 2), James Holmes had the option to claim insanity and he had concealed explosives in his apartment. The article mentions that a robot was deployed by the police to investigate his apartment, where it discovered explosive devices. As stated in the article, “The presence of what appeared to be tripwires and ammunition prompted the police to wait until Saturday to try to enter the apartment” (US News 2).

Mr. Holmes had the intelligence to fortify his home and set traps, as well as handle obtaining weapons and ammunition. The question arises about whether Mr. Holmes should be permitted to claim insanity. Drew Peterson, highlighted in the article “Hearsay evidence proves crucial in Drew Peterson’s conviction,” intends to commit a significant crime such as homicide and evade accountability. Currently, Drew Peterson faces charges related to the disappearance of Stacy Peterson, who happens to be his fourth spouse by chance. It is clear from past incidents that Stacy Peterson is not Drew Peterson’s initial target.

Prior to this, Peterson faced charges for the killing of his former spouse, Kathleen Savio. Following her husband’s conviction for the murder of his ex-wife, Stacy disappeared. It is thought that she abandoned her three children and her family maintains the belief that she was not a victim of murder (Basu 1). The availability of substantial information plays a vital role in substantiating a research paper examining the impartiality of capital punishment in any scenario and discussing whether Drew Peterson merits being sentenced to death row.

Cite this page

Research Proposal: Capital Punishment. (2016, Dec 19). Retrieved from

Remember! This essay was written by a student

You can get a custom paper by one of our expert writers

Order custom paper Without paying upfront