Capital Punishment


Capital punishment is the legal infliction of the death penalty. It is obviously the most severe form of criminal punishment. Capital punishment is a controversial way of dealing with violent criminals. The main alternative to the death penalty is life in


Prison. Capital punishment has been around for thousands of years as a means of eradicating criminals. The first evidence of capital punishment is from Hammurabi\'s code, a book of Babylonian law, from 1700BC. The Bible mentions that execution should be used for many crimes. One example of the death penalty in the bible is "Whoever strikes a man so that he dies shall be put to death." (Exodus 21:12). The bible also suggests stoning a woman if she has unmarried sex and had "wrought folly on Israel by playing the harlot in her father\'s house" (Deuteronomy 22:21) England recognized seven major crimes that called for execution by the end of the 15th century. These crimes were: murder, theft, burglary, rape, and arson. As time went by more and more crimes were believed to deserve the death penalty and by 1800, more than 200 crimes were recognized as punishable by death. There are many forms of execution. Some have been labeled barbaric and forbidden nearly everywhere. Currently the only accepted means of execution are: electrocution, the gas chamber, firing squad and lethal injection. The firing squad is only used it Utah upon request. Montana, New Hampshire and Washington are the only states that allow hangings. The electric chair was introduced in New York in 1890 and is now used in 24 states. The criminal is seated in a chair. Electrodes are attached to the head and a leg. Pulses of 2000 volts are sent through his body for about three minutes or until he appears to be dead. The fact that the electrodes reach 1900°C and the brain reaches the boiling point causes one to doubt the humanity of this practice. Lethal injection is thought to be the least painful method of execution. The person is strapped down and a given a deadly dose of barbiturates via IV. However this process also has its flaws. "It took technicians 45 minutes of sticking to find a proper vein for the injection” on Peter Morin. Needles have also been known to fly out in the middle of the injection. The gas chamber was first used in Nevada in 1924. The prisoner is strapped into a chair and cyanide gas is administered through a hole in the floor. Death takes from three to four minutes, but prisoners have been known to go into convulsions or choke to death on the gas.


A giant debate on capital punishment started between supporters and opposers of execution, over the morality and effectiveness of the death penalty. The supporters claim that if you take a life you should pay with your life or "an eye for an eye". Opposers of the death penalty bring up the chance of sentencing the innocent and how the death penalty is inhumane. Those who oppose the death penalty have come up with many reasons that life in prison without parole, or LWOP, is a better means of dealing with violent criminals. One reason is the risk of executing the innocent. This risk is very small considering that since 1900 only 23 people, who were possibly innocent, were executed. Those who oppose the death penalty claim that the number of blacks is disproportionate to that of women and white men. This has been proven to be true and is the most vital argument of the opposers. Wealth and fame take a pivotal part in the trial of a defendant. Poor defendants are give court-appointed lawyers; however, rich and famous defendants can afford fancy lawyers. One example of this is the O.J. Simpson trial. If O.J.. was a normal middle to lower class person, he would not be able to afford lawyers like Johnny Cochran and would probably have been found guilty. At some point, man must stop the violence. Seeking temporary gratification is not a logical basis for whether the death penalty should be imposed. Granted, revenge is easily confused with retribution, and most would agree that the punishment should fit the crime, but can society