Few issues in the United States today are as emotionally charged and controversial as the death penalty. Formally know as capital punishment, the death penalty has been hotly debated not only as a legal issue, but as a religious, ethical, and political one, historically as well as in the present day. Although many states currently administer the death penalty, Texas has been put in the spot light this past year because of the recent presidential race. The moral question of whether or not it is right to kill another human being is ever-present in today's society. However, when looking at it from a political standpoint, one must also consider whether or not it is even legal. After looking at a combination of Supreme Court rulings and individual Texas laws, one must conclude that it is perfectly legal to carry out a death penalty sentence. However, there are a number of things Texas could do to improve their capital punishment system.
Thirty-eight states presently allow the death penalty. Alaska, Main, Hawaii, Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Vermont, Massachusetts, North Dakota, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia do not. Texas and California lead the other states with 400 convicts on death row. Texas leads the nation in the number of executions since the death penalties revival in 1976 (Stewart 85).
The death penalty is legal according to a Supreme Court ruling, Gregg vs. Georgia. In the ruling, the Supreme Court ruled the death penalty is not cruel and unusual punishment. It was ruled that it is not in violation with the Constitution as long as "guided discretion" was used (Almonte 7). In many cases, petitione...
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Black, Johnson. "A Bush-Gore hedge on Capital Punishment." The Christian Science Monitor. June 16, 2000. 11.
Bright, Stephen B.. "The Killing Machine." The Nation. Oct. 9, 2000. v271 i10. 17.
Brown, Howard. "The Politics of Death." The Economist. March 24, 1990. v314 n7647. 25.
Curtis, Gregory. "Seven Women." Texas Monthly. Oct 97. v25 n10. 7-10.
Guernsey, JoAnn. Should We Have Capital Punishment?. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications Co., 1993.
Hunter, Gardner C.. Against the Death Penalty. Waterloo: Herald Press, 1997.
Marquart, James. The Rope, the Chair, and the Needle. Austin: University of Texas, 1994.
Schonebaum, Stephen. Does Capital Punishment Deter Crime?. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1998.
Stewart, Gail B. The Death Penalty. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1998.
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