Capital Punishment Research Paper

1440 Words May 15th, 2012 6 Pages
Capital Punishment
Matt Meeks

Political Science
Mr. Lawrence
16 November 2011

Matt Meeks 14
Mr. Lawrence
POLS 1113
16 November 2011
Capital Punishment The justice system is a complicated area of government; not all states enforce the death penalty, because criminal punishment is a subject left for the states to decide (Banner, 2002). There are multiple methods of execution available to enforce the death penalty; different states enforce different methods, even multiple methods (Death Penalty Information Center, 2010). There are some people that argue the death penalty is a form of cruel and unusual punishment and should be prohibited by the constitution (Banner, 2002). According to the American
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Lethal injection is the most widely used and accepted form, plus it is the primary method and only method used by all thirty-five states that have the death penalty (Banner, 2002). The drugs used in execution by lethal injection are Sodium Thiopental to cause unconsciousness, Pancuronium Bromide to stop respiration, and Potassium Chloride to stop the heart (Bedau, 1997). The method of electrocution is used by nine states in case lethal injection is found unconstitutional in the future. The gas chamber method is enforced by four states, only to be used if lethal injection is found unconstitutional. Hanging is used in two states if lethal injection is found unconstitutional. Oklahoma is the only state that enforces the firing squad method, but only if lethal injection and electrocution are both found unconstitutional (Banner, 2002). In the past, most methods of execution could easily be classified as cruel and unusual. On June twenty-ninth nineteen seventy-two, the United States Supreme Court declared the death penalty unconstitutional in Furman v. Georgia, as cruel and unusual punishment violating the Eighth Amendment (Bedau, 1997). Today, the United States Supreme Court has ruled the five methods of execution in use in the United States constitutional as declared in the case Gregg v. Georgia (Banner, 2002). However, capital punishment on a juvenile has been ruled as cruel and

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