Preserve or Outlaw?

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Capital punishment has been one of the most controversial issues in American history. Its complex history demonstrates how controversial the subject is. Capital punishment is the verdict of execution as a punishment for a person or persons convicted of committing a crime. In 1972, the Supreme Court determined that capital punishment violated the 8th Amendment of the United States Constitution’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. However, this ruling did not last for long. In 1976, the court reestablished capital punishment as a legitimate means for punishment for criminals convicted of heinous crimes (Williams). Since that time, 1,271 people have been executed as a result of a guilty verdict. Yet, 138 people in 26 states have been exonerated from death row with evidence proving their innocence, while many more have been executed despite evidence indicating possible innocence. In the United States, 34 states have the death penalty in place, while 16 states prohibit it (Death Penalty Information Center, “States With and Without the Death Penalty”). This shows the indecisiveness among the states on whether or not capital punishment should be allowed or outlawed. Capital punishment should be outlawed due to the fact that it does not diminish crime rates; it is more costly than keeping criminals in prison for life, and most criminals on death row do not receive proper representation in order to justify their innocence. Since the ratification of capital punishment, states that discontinued the death penalty have steadily retained lower murder rates, then states that allow the death penalty. Over the past 3 years, the murder rate within states that allow capital punishment has been consistently higher than that of those who... ... middle of paper ... ...enalty.” Death Penalty Information Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2011. - - -. “Death Penalty Representation.” Death Penalty Information Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2011. - - -. “Murder Rates Nationally and by State.” Death Penalty Information Center. N.p., Sept. 2011. Web. 30 Nov. 2011. - - -. “States With and Without the Death Penalty.” Death Penalty Information center . N.p., 2011. Web. 1 Dec. 2011. Lamperti, John. “Does Capital Punishment Deter Murder? A Brief Look at the Evidence.” Dartmouth. Darthmouth University, Mar. 2010. Web. 30 Nov. 2011. “O’Connor Questions Death Penalty.” cbsnews. N.p., 11 Feb. 2009. Web. 30 Nov. 2011. Van den Haag, Ernest. “The Ultimate Penalty.” National Review 53.11 (2001): 32. Academic Search Premier. Web. 30 Nov. 2011. Williams, Richard. “The Cost of Punishment.” State Legislatures 37.7 (2011): 55-56. Web. 29 Nov. 2011.
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