History of THe Capital Punishment

709 Words3 Pages
The capital punishment, known as the death penalty has been a widely debated topic in America over its constitutionality after being reinstated in 1976. There are two distinct sides in the debate over whether the death penalty is an unjust punishment. The debate spreads over to whether mentally ill and juveniles should be tried as adults and receive the death penalty or if their mental capacity restrains the government from issuing the punishment. Not only that, but the methods used to administer the punishment are also being picked and pried.

The death penalty has been occurring in America since the colonial times when settlers came from Europe. At that time, they used hanging as the most common execution method. This persisted until the 1900s when the government switched to methods such as the gas chamber or electric chair. This continued until the 1972 case of Furman v. Georgia where the Court declared a halt in the death penalty until a proper system could be created. This halt continued until the 1976 Supreme court case Gregg v. Georgia which allowed states to start administering the punishment (Upfront Magazine). By this time, the lethal injection had been invented by Dr. Jay Chapman (CNN). It would become the most popular administered death penalty, numbering 1204 executions to 158 completed by electrocution (deathpenaltyinfo.org).

Several Supreme Court cases have narrowed down the constitutionality of administering the death penalty to adults who are mentally sane. A few others have determined, using the Eighth Amendment how severe the crime had to be for such an extreme punishment to be called upon. The Eighth Amendment states that the court has the power to determine if a punishment fits the crime or if the punishment ...

... middle of paper ...

...being torn off by the force. Three cases have occurred since 1976. The firing squad is still used by two states, Utah and Idaho. The prisoner is strapped to a chair and hooded. Then, five men take aim and fire at the target on the prisoner’s chest. Three cases have happened since 1976. Electrocution had been the most common form of execution until the lethal injection. The prisoner is strapped to a chair and electrodes are attached to the head and legs. Smoke oftentimes rises from the head and the smell of burning flesh is always present. No one knows how long the prisoner is alive for, thus sparking the debate whether it was torturing, rather than quickly ending a prisoner’s life. This is still legal in 11 states. The gas chamber has been used since 1933 and was stopped in 1996 when the California Court of Appeals determined that this method was unconstitutional.

More about History of THe Capital Punishment

Open Document