Capital Punishment: Justified?

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There are wide and divergent opinions on the United States’ Supreme Court decisions on capital punishment. While proponents of capital punishment allege that it can be applied as with the existence of sufficient due process, others contend that human life is irreplaceable and that “every person has the right to have their life respected” (Oppenheim, “Capital Punishment in the United States”). While capital punishment has phased in and out of the United States’ criminal justice system in the past few decades, current trends seem to fall out of favor with the death penalty. As Snell indicates, by yearend of 2011, there were 3,082 inmates held across 35 states and the Federal Bureau of Prisons under the death sentence, where 9 states executed 43 inmates in both 2011 and 2012 (“Capital Punishment, 2011 – Statistical Tables”). In order to gain a deeper understanding and enhanced projection of the death penalty development, it is prudent to first examining historical accounts of cases that have been decided in favor or against the capital punishment in the United States.
In 1972, the Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 238 came into preponderance and introduced the concept of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment when considering decisions against the death penalty. In the Furman v. Georgia case, William Furman was the defendant who shot and killed a homeowner when he burglarized the home in Savannah, Georgia, in 1967. Since Furman was African American, who committed a crime against a white homeowner in the South that is considered to be a racially discriminatory region, the near all-white jury decided on a death sentence within less than a day’s trial and deliberation (Oshinsky, 1). Furman’s attorney then appealed the decision to the Supreme C...

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