The Death Penalty Is Justified Essay

1971 Words Oct 21st, 2015 8 Pages
Defining the Death Penalty Throughout history the laws and regulations surrounding the death penalty have fluctuated and changed, making the death penalty an unlikely punishment for severe crimes. In 1793, one of the first laws regarding the death penalty was passed, when murder was divided into first and second degrees (H. Bedeau, 2004), this only allowed the death penalty to be a plausible option for first degree or premeditated murder. However, today, this is no longer a “sufficient basis” for the death penalty. The perpetrator must also exhibit “aggravating circumstances” which are generally specified by the judge 's instructions to the jury (H. Bedeau, 2004). Supreme Court cases have also limited the death penalties reach. In 1976, Woodson v. North Carolina ruled that the mandatory death penalty was unconstitutional, and a year later in Coker v. Georgia, death penalty for rape was also declared unconstitutional. Today only about 44 capitol crimes can be tried for the death penalty. In addition to the limited number of crimes that are eligible to be tried for the death penalty, there is a strict protocol that must be followed, when seeking the death penalty ruling. The controversial nature of the death penalty stem from many moral issues. The biggest decisions surrounding the question of if the death penalty falls under cruel and unusual punishment. Today, a death sentence can be executed in numerous ways, including lethal injection, electric chair, gas chamber, and…

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