COM Final Draft - Capital Punishment Is It the Answer...

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Capital Punishment: Is It the Answer? Capital Punishment: Is It the Answer? Michaela Schwartz COM/220 May 28 th , 2010 Ray Stone Capital Punishment: Is It the Answer? Capital Punishment is the killing of a person for punishment of his or her crimes. Throughout history there have been many ways in which to “punish” a person for his or her crimes. Before certain forms of reprimands became thought of as cruel, torture was the most widely used way in which to chastise a person; torture included things like: fights to the death, removal of extremities, burning at the stake, drowning, beheading, stoning and crucifixion (Capital Punishment, 2000). Sometime during the eighteenth century people began a debate as to what was considered to be “cruel and unusual,” a debate which still continues today. Some people began to think that the previous ways of punishment were a little too extreme and moved on to firing squads, hanging, gas chambers, the electric chair, and the more widely used technique of lethal injection. Currently, 35 states still support the notion that some crimes should be punishable by death (Death Penalty Information Center). Although people should be held accountable for the crimes they have committed, the death penalty is part of an unfair justice system and is a cruel punishment that should be abolished. The first execution was performed in 1608 in Jamestown, Virginia on a man named George Kendall who was convicted of being a traitor, a spy for Spain (A Long and Tortured History, 2006). New York executed the first person via the electric chair in 1890. Nevada introduced cyanide gas as a form of execution in 1924. Oklahoma was the first state to adopt lethal injection in 1977; however, Texas was the first state to use lethal injection as a form of execution in 1982. The last execution performed by a firing squad was on a man named John Albert Taylor in Utah in 1996; Taylor chose the firing squad as an alternative to the more socially
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Capital Punishment: Is It the Answer? acceptable process of lethal injection. Death by hanging is still acceptable within society in the states of Delaware and Washington. Since 1976 a total of 1,203 people have been executed across our country. More than 130 people have been exonerated with proof of their innocence since 1973; in fact, in the years between 2000 and 2007 an average of five people were exonerated each year (Death Penalty Information Center, 2010). Does the murder of the guilty negate the murder of the innocent? In his article “Studies cannot “Prove” that Capital Punishment Deters Crime,” C.S. Smith discusses a client of his that was exonerated at the last minute after six different DNA tests proved his innocence. This client was an African American teenager with a mental illness and Smith states “[My client] has only one life, and it would have been no consolation to him, had he been executed in error, that some academic pondering the view from his office window thought that his arbitrary death was OK because the murder for
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COM Final Draft - Capital Punishment Is It the Answer...

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