Cassie Venditti 3/16/2014
The death penalty has been a controversial and highly debatable issue for centuries. People have been sentenced to capital punishment since the beginning of civilization. It has been accepted as fair punishment by governmental bodies in every period in time. In the United States the death penalty is used as a punishment for capital offenses. These specifically can vary from state to state, but commonly include first-degree murder, murder with special circumstances, rape with additional bodily harm, and the federal crime of treason. Over time capital punishment has become more humane from beheadings, to electric chairs, to now a lethal injection, to lower the judgment from today's society. The main concern with the death penalty is that some people think it is inhumane or immoral, even unconstitutional, while others think the exact opposite and believe as do I, that it is necessary for a well-established governmental system.
Due to the famous Furman v. Georgia (1972) court case the U.S. Supreme Court banned capital punishment in 1972, deeming it unconstitutional and cruel. The case set the standard for many years to come in the USA. The Supreme Court concluded that giving the jury total discretion when deciding on the death penalty for murder was “cruel and unusual” punishment and in violation of the Eighth Amendment, especially if it did not fit the crime. On June 29, 1972, the Supreme Court voided forty death penalty statutes, thereby altering the sentences of 629 inmates on death row and suspending their sentences. Since not all death penalty laws were voided, the Supreme Court had given individual states in favor of the death penalty, the option of making new laws. Four years later, however, the Supreme Court revisited the...