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Death Penalty Essay

  • Submitted by: jakeblaylock
  • on February 15, 2011
  • Category: History
  • Length: 1,000 words

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Below is an essay on "Death Penalty" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Capital Punishment
      An issue that has continually raised debate in today's society is whether the death penalty serves as a justified and valid form of punishment.  Whenever the topic of "death penalty" comes up, people from both sides start defending their views.  One side says deterrence, the other side says there's a potential of executing an innocent man; one says justice, retribution, and punishment; the other side says execution is murder.  Crime has always been a part of society, and how we deal with criminals in respect to balancing the moral aspect of punishment and the retribution set for their actions against society has been the subject of constant reform and debate for ages.  The definition of capital punishment is "the use of death as a legally sanctioned punishment."   The death penalty existed long before 2500 BC, when Hammurabi was the first to create written law.   Such cultures starting with Ancient Babylon, to the Roman Empire, to the Church of the Middle Ages, the death penalty was used quite liberally. Now in present-day America, the crimes that will sentence the accused to death, the methods of execution, and the process by which one is tried and sentenced have changed tremendously over time.
      There has always been debate over the morals and effectiveness of such a finite sentence.  Most commonly, the death penalty is challenged as a violation of the Eighth Amendment, which says that the U.S. cannot use "cruel and unusual" punishment.  Due to the fact that "punishment" is a legal infliction of suffering, it must be somewhat "cruel,” even though it has such a long history of usage.  Death sentences at one time were carried out by such means as beheading, boiling in oil, burying alive, crucifixion, disembowelment, drowning, flaying alive, hanging, impalement, stoning, strangling, being thrown to wild animals, and quartering.   In modern United States, of the states that exercise the death penalty from 1976 to February 5, 2010 there...

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