What Is The Use Of The Death Penalty

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The death penalty has been a flawed American institution since it was established in the 1600s. It has been marred by complaints of pain, cruelty, inconsistency, discrimination, wrongful death, botched executions, executions of juveniles, mentally disable, and mentally ill, as well as the financial cost. The enforcement of capital punishment has not only been subject to review on the basis of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, but also due to scrutiny of public opinion and outrage. The first account of an execution in the United States came in 1608 when George Kendall was hanged for treason. (Golston pp. 7) Since that time, executions have been applied to many crimes and taken many forms: firing squad, burning at the stake, hanging, electric …show more content…
All other crimes, he argued, should be punished by means that fit the crimes. He suggested that the death penalty was overused and to prescribe a punishment more severe than the crime itself would only cause people to be dishonest and allow criminals to go unpunished altogether. (Founder’s Constitution, Amendment VIII, Document 10) Jefferson’s plea would be the first of many challenges to the death penalty. The bill would fail to pass, but it laid ground for future cases to point out the flaws with the United States’ use of the death penalty. The Wilkerson v. Utah case in 1879 would be the first to argue that a specific method of execution was cruel and unusual punishment, thereby making it unconstitutional. The court did not side with the defendant and found that death by firing squad was a protected method of punishment. (Wilkerson v. Utah, 99 US 130) Various cases came and went without much change to the constitutionality of capital punishment until the 1972 case of Furman v. Georgia which turned the institution on its head. Attorneys for William Henry Furman argued that the death penalty was unconstitutional because there was no clear definition of what constituted a death penalty crime causing it to be inconsistently applied depending

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