Cruel and Unusual Punishment - Essay Example

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Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Cruel and Unusual Punishment Capital punishment refers to the legal process in which a person found guilty of specific crimes is put to death by the authorities as punishment for the crimes perpetrated. Capital punishment is usually handed out to capital offenders, or those who commit capital crimes…
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Cruel and Unusual Punishment
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Download file to see previous pages Despite widespread outcry on the cruelty associated with the death penalty, many countries around the globes still practice it and view it as a perfectly legal form of extreme punishment. Whether to uphold or abolish the death penalty has been a controversial subject in many societies, in the world. This is because of the divergent views that different people have based on phenomenon such as culture, political ideology and religion. The United Nations, for example, has in recent times adopted resolutions though non binding, advocating for the abolishment of executions giving emphasis on the sanctity of life. The European Union also outlaws the practice of capital punishment in its area of jurisdiction through the second article of the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights. This has proved to be ineffective since countries like the Unites States, Indonesia, India and China, which hold a large part of the global population, still practice capital punishment (Mandery 45). According to Amnesty International, two nations each year have abolished capital punishment in their criminal justice systems since 1976. Counties such as Germany, Australia and Spain strongly against the practice of capital punishment regardless of the crime committed. Capital punishment dates as far back as 8th Century B.C in Babylon, where twenty five different crimes were punishable by death. The Hittite code of the 14th Century B.C also embraced capital punishment. Most astonishing of them all was the draconian Athens code of the 7th Century B.C, which set out death as punishment for all crimes. In early civilizations, the death penalty got executed thorough drowning, firing squads, impalement, lynching, decapitation and crucifixion. In present day, capital punishment gets executed through the use of lethal injection, firing squads, lethal gas, hanging and electrocution (Radelet 46). The death penalty in the Unites States has been an issue of insurmountable concern for a long time. The precedence of capital punishment in Americas came as a result of British influence on the then colony. Though capital punishment had been occurring, the first recorded execution took place in Virginia in 1608. The early 20th Century marked the resurgence in the execution of the death penalty. The 1930s marked the decade with the largest number of executions in the history of America. In the 1950s, the public began to voice their opposition to capital punishment. This led to a drop in the number of executions. In the 1960s, the legality of capital punishment got challenged. Before 1960, the eighth, fifth and fourteen amendments were interpreted as having endorsed the death penalty. It was later suggested that the death penalty was unusual and cruel, and hence unconstitutional in accordance to the Eighth Amendment (Mandery 77). In 1985, the Supreme Court ruled that the 8th Amendment had an evolving standard of decency which marked progress of a society that was coming of age. This newly found decency no longer had room for the death penalty. As a result, the Supreme Court began refining the administration of the death penalty by ensuring that it was practiced with little or no pain inflicted. Whereas the 8th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States restrains the government from cruel and unusual punishments, the ambiguity of the term ‘cruel and unusual’ has over the years fuelled the controversy about the constitutionality of capital p ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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