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Is the Sentence of Death Appropriate for Those Who do not Kill - Essay Example

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Response Paper Number Three: Is the Sentence of Death Appropriate For Those Who Do Not Kill? YOUR NAME HERE INSTRUCTOR NAME HERE Abstract The issue of the death penalty and the issue of capital punishment have the ability, without question, to ignite debate and controversy…
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Is the Sentence of Death Appropriate for Those Who do not Kill
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Download file to see previous pages An even bigger debate can be ignited on the issue of the death penalty concerning those that participate in what is considered a capital crime, but do not actually commit the crime themselves. In deciding this issue, and in respect to the Eighth Amendment prohibiting “cruel and unusual punishment”, the Supreme Court has adopted both a subjective and an objective approach, swinging back and forth between the one that serves objectively to the one that serves subjectively, and back again to the more objective method. In this paper, we examine both approaches, as well as personal opinions regarding them. Introduction The death penalty, as decided and imposed by the laws of the United States of America, has a long and illustrious history of being debated, enacted, struck down, and otherwise discussed. Though the United States is the only democracy in the Western Hemisphere that actually retains the use of the death penalty as a punishment to criminals, it demands certain criteria and other factors are present before it comes into consideration or is used as a part of the criminal process (Scheb & Scheb II, 2011). Complicating the debates that surround the death penalty are those cases which question its use in punishing those that were not actually involved directly with the capital crimes committed, yet received the death penalty as a sentence; the same applies to those that were juveniles at the time they committed a capital crime and when the mental status of a suspect or defendant is challenged and/or proven to be of such a nature that he or she could not have understood the crime that they were committing. In the article “Executing Those Who Do Not Kill: A Categorical Approach to Proportional Sentencing”, by Joseph Trigilio and Tracy Casadio, we are asked to examine the historical and current policies of the United States Supreme Court in regards to those who are only accomplices in felony cases, cases in which they did not kill or intend to kill, with regards to the view on the sentence of capital punishment, especially given the criteria that the death penalty may be viewed as “cruel and unusual punishment” as per the United States Constitution, Amendment VIII. Given the extent of the debate on the death penalty itself, even in light of recent legislation that has banned its use in cases concerning juveniles and those of diminished mental capacity it is not an exaggeration to say that the death penalty, while not taken lightly as a part of the criminal process, will never lose its status as a debated issue, even among the United States Supreme Court. Objective versus Subjective Approach The Supreme Court of the United States has succeeded in bouncing back and forth in differing methods of evaluation for capital punishment. There was a time that an objective approach was taken, such as in the cases of Enmund v. Florida 458 U.S. 782 (1982), 399 So.2d 1362 (Fla. 1981), 454 U.S. 939 (1981) and Coker v. Georgia 433 U.S. 584, 97 S. Ct. 2861, 53 L. Ed. 2d 982 (1977). Though a two part analysis took into account the objective factors of current legislation at the time of the decision as well as a subjective analysis involving human dignity as it related to the use of capital punishment as a means of retribution and deterrence for crimes, the fact remained that cases were decided based on objective means (Trigilio & Casadio, 2011). This method was then applied to many cases, including Coker v. Georgia ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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