Capital offenses are crimes against the State or the Country. These crimes are not limited to death of one victim, but also include treason, espionage, genocide, and terrorism that result in death. Capital offenses vary on the state and federal level. State offenses that result in the death penalty are homicide cases with an average of 10 aggravating factors, and in some cases the aggravated sexual assault of a minor especially under 13. This was debated as being unconstitutional under the decision handed down by the Supreme Court in the case of Kennedy v. Louisiana (2008). The Supreme Court ruled that in this specific case where the aggravated rape of minor did not result in death, it was unconstitutional to execute the defendant.
The federal government identifies 41 offenses that result in the death penalty and they range from crimes that result in the death of a victim (i.e. federal employees), murder as the result of torture, and murder as the result of another crime like: treasons, acts of genocide, terrorism espionage, and the trafficking of large quantities of drugs (Federal Laws Providing for the Death Penalty). Under federal law 18 U.S.C. 359 (b) those convicted of trafficking in large quantities of drugs can be sentenced to the death penalty as well. However, since the ruling given under Kennedy v. Louisiana (2008) it is difficult to immediately state whether or not it would be constitutional, since trafficking large quantities of drugs does not result in murder. It is also noted that sentencing a person convicted of: the attempt, authorization, or advising to kill an officer, juror, or witness in cases involving a Continuing Criminal Enterprise, regardless of whe...
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...ment. These anti-capital punishment supporters also argued that capital punishment is sometimes enacted on the innocent. Executions can also cost more than a life sentence in prison (Reasons to be Against the Death Penalty). In Texas capital punishment cost taxpayers about $2.3 million dollars. In Florida it cost about $3.2 million dollars for an execution. Abolishing capital punishment in California could save them annually $90 million dollars as of 1990s (Villa and Morris, 1997). This number may fluctuate as the number of executions by state has decreased dramatically from 98 in 1999 to 40 in 2012 (Death Penalty Information Facts).
The cost of the death penalty is not only financial but it is moral, and ethically. The instances where innocent individuals, or individual’s whose lives were ended with known doubt is enough to re-evaluate the efficacy of this policy.
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