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Capital Punishment College - Essay Example

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The capital punishment has existed since ancient times. In its early days, the capital punishment imposed as punishment was a form of private justice. It was not applied by the state, but rather by the family or tribe of the person who had suffered damage (G…
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Capital Punishment College Essay
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Download file to see previous pages Finally, the Roman law of twelve tablets codified it in the fifth century BC (Death Penalty Information Center). As far as 437 BC, the usefulness of the capital punishment was questioned. By arguing its non-deterrent effect, Diodotus persuaded the Athenian assembly to reverse its decision to execute all adult males of the city of Mitylene.
In the eighteenth century, various philosophers called for the abolition of the capital punishment. Montesquieu, for example, called for its restriction to murder, attempted murder, certain types of manslaughter and some offences against property. Beccaria, on the contrary, did not call for its limitation but rather for its complete abolition. The writings of Beccaria ended the distinction in the application of the capital punishment between poor and nobles, and his ideas led to the promulgation of a penal code in Tuscany that eliminated it entirely.
The main debate surrounding the issue of capital punishment is its constitutionality. Capital punishment proponents believe that the capital punishment is an integral part of our criminal justice system and reserved for offenders who commit the most heinous of crimes, while death opponents believe in the sanctity of life for any reason. Capital punishment has been applied to both genders at all levels of competency. It has affected the lives of adults, juveniles and nearly all races of mankind.
The continuation of the capital punishment raises several arguments. Capital punishment was a volatile issue in 20th century and continues to be a morally divisive topic in the 21st century. The underlying ideology of those who support capital punishment appears to be the notion of retribution and the concept of a safer society based on the theory of general deterrence. The following questions need to be examined when determining the validity of that premise: (a) is the capital punishment a general deterrence to future criminal activity, (b) is it morally acceptable to take a life in the name of justice, (c) is the capital punishment a form of cruel and unusual punishment And (d) should an offender with a mental deficiency be a candidate for execution
The surveys conduced by the Pew Research (Robert, 2007) reveal that public now support the capital punishemnet more than ever before (see table 1 below)

Source: Pew Research

Although the arguments offered against the capital punishment have some weight and logic, it must be remembered that there is another party besides the murderer involved in every murder, and that is the victim. By the unjustified taking of another's life, the murderer has forfeited his own. Hence, we are not obligated to support murderers for the rest of their natural life. If one murderer is granted life in prison while another is executed, it is only because of the extraordinary degree of leniency that we have in our American system of jurisprudence, and not because of any intrinsic unfairness.
It is also argued that there is no visible deterrence effect of capital punishment visible. This argument does not seem to be based on any factual grounds as it is impossible to prove the effect of something that didn't happen. On the other hand, it is a matter of common sense that some people would refrain from killing another person due to the fact that they fear death themselves. Similarly, many others refrain from murdering because they consider it socially reprehensible and they consider it ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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