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Capital Punishment Essay

1314 words - 6 pages

Among the first people to be executed were the so-called witches within the colonies. These executions became known as the Salem Witch trials. When the trials between May and October 1692 were over, there were about twenty people that were sentenced to die. According to the English law many offenses were punishable by death. Most included property crimes and such other non-violent crimes. Robbery, extortion, arson and pick pocketing were all punishable by death. In Massachusetts there were only thirteen crimes punishable by death which include; cursing, adultery, lying under oath, praying to idols, etc. Throughout the colonies Ohio, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and New York kept the death ...view middle of the document...

Below are some statistics taken from another source.*
     Since 1988, the federal government has authorized seeking the death penalty against 211 defendants. Of the 211 approved prosecutions, 158 (75%) were against minority defendants. Of these defendants, 53 have been white, 39 Hispanic, 12 Asian/Indian/Pacific Islander, 2 Arab and 105 African American. Of the twenty inmates currently on federal death row, 17 (85%) are members of a minority group. For a summary of the cases authorized for the federal death penalty.
Of the 211 federal death penalty prosecutions authorized by the Attorney General since 1988, 75% have been against minorities:
53 white
39 Hispanic
14 Asian/Indian/Arab
105 African-American.
211 prosecutions - 158 (75%) were against minority defendants
     To carry out the death penalty results in many various ways. Some of these executions occur by lethal injections, electrocution, beheading, hanging, firing squad, etc. Certain procedures are set and required to follow in order for the execution to occur. Procedures as follows:
-14 witnesses are allowed in chamber
-8 security officers strap the inmate
-2 execution technicians
-A cardiac monitor is attached to the inmate
- A curtain opens to allow view to witnesses
     Methods of execution vary in different states. Some have the gas chamber as well as some of the others. The one that was the most common way of execution was the electric chair. A reporter who witnessed the first electrocution in New York described it as “an odor of burning flesh” and “a blue flame played about the base of the victim’s spine.” On May 4, 1990 “it took three separate 2,000 volt surges to kill a man in Florida. Fire, smoke, and sparks spewed from his head.”
     Supporters tend to believe that capital punishment is both a necessary and a just punishment for the most heinous and violent crimes. Opponents believe that capital punishment is unnecessary and unjust, and that the most violent criminals should be sentenced to life in prison instead of death. Although both parties agree that punishments are necessary to deter crime and to encourage law-abiding behavior, the punishment musty fit the crime, with more serious crimes requiring more serious punishment, and those punishments must be administered by the state through due process of law rather than by individuals through vigilante action.
     Between 1976 and January 2001, 683 men and women were put to death. Out of that many people 13 were under the age of 18. In August 2000, 80 out of the 3,726 on death row were young offenders...

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