The Debate of the Death Penalty's Constitutionality

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The Debate of the Death Penalty's Constitutionality Capital Punishment has existed in civilized society for thousands of years. One of the world’s largest religions is based on the execution of its leader. In America the execution of Timothy McVeigh is around the corner, and is possibly the nation’s and the world’s news story for upcoming weeks. In the United States the death penalty has existed since the creation of the union, and well before that in colonial America. Public executions once drew large crowds in the 19th and early 20th century America, the last one taking place in 1936 with a crowd of 20,000 people to watch a single man be killed. In 1972, the Supreme Court effectively eliminated the practice of executions with their decision in Furman v. Georgia. Yet four years later, the same court reinstated the death penalty with their decision in Gregg v. Georgia. These cases are still carefully examined to determine whether the same issues from the 1972 case still hold true, and whether the terms on which it was reinstated are still being adhered to. Capital Punishment exists on a limited basis today, yet its constitutionality is still debated through the appellate proccess and in the court of public opinion. Opponents to this measure often contend that moral, racial and socio-economic class can bias juries on a fundamental level. After careful analysis of statistics on the death penalty, it can be shown that although the death penalty can appear to be prejudiced on these potential biases, the constitutionality of the issue remains intact. Furman v. Georgia (1972) In 1971 the Supreme Court announced its intention to review four death penalty cases to answer the question, “Does the imposition and carrying ou... ... middle of paper ... ...inherently flawed system continue to put people to death, or to install a national moratorium that allows the process to be fixed. Bibliography: Works Cited Bedau, Hugo Adam. The Death Penalty in America: Current Controversies. Oxford University Press, New York, NY 1997. Bedau, Hugo Adam. “The Case Against the Death Penalty.” American Civil Liberties Union. Http:// Death Row USA. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Morning Edition. National Public Radio. May 1, 2001. Morris, Cynthia and Bryan Vila. Capital Punishment in the United States: A Documentary History. Greenwood Press. Westport, CT. 1997. United States. Supreme Court, Justice Brennan, Stewart & White. Furman v. Georgia. 408 US 238 (1972) United States. Supreme Court, Justice Stewart. Gregg v. Georgia. 428 U.S. 153 (1976)
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