Death Penalty Is Cruel And Unusual Punishment Essay

754 Words Nov 12th, 2015 4 Pages
In Johnny’s case, his attorney is claiming Johnny’s death sentence is cruel and unusual punishment, and wants a new ruling which helps establish Johnny’s class of people an exemption from the death penalty. Utilizing Atkins as precedent, there is a need for empirical evidence in order to support Johnny’s claim. Atkins utilized empirical evidence pertaining to: the number of states whose laws permit such individuals to be executed, the trend of the issue, poll data of the issue, and the amount of actual executions for this class of person.
This ultimately begs the question, how would the Court respond to the claim that Atkins should be extended to persons who “had severe mental problems but were not legally insane and had an IQ over 70”? The response would be correspondent to the ruling in Atkins. Just like Atkins, the empirical evidence is all there in support of unconstitutionality of killing people with severe mental disability, but not legally insane. First off, Johnny’s attorney points out that out of the thirty-eight states that maintain a death penalty, thirty of those states either discourage or prohibit the death when there was “significant evidence of mental defect” short of insanity. In correlation to the Atkins case, this number puts a clear majority of states siding with Johnny’s claim. Next up is the empirical evidence relating to the trend of the issue. The “trend” is speaking to the evolving standard of decency. This means society, through time, may have…

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