Essay - Criminal Justice - Systematic Problem the Problem with Capital Punishment...

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Criminal Justice - Systematic Problem


The Problem of Capital Punishment in the United States:

***** punishment has been a feature of human social justice s*****ce before recorded history. Generally, civilized societies reserve the ultimate form of punishment for ***** most serious crimes, such as the murder of another, but that is not always the case.

The Guillotine played a highly publicized role throughout the 18th century in France, and hanging by the neck was frequently imposed in the U.S. well *****to the 20th century.

In several Middle Eastern countries, capital pun*****hment is still imposed for such "crimes" as homosexuality; in others, including some ***** the wealthiest, modern, and so- called "moderate" Islamic nations, ***** death penalty is not *****ally sanctioned by law, but nevertheless condoned and rarely prosecuted as pun*****hment ***** female adultery (Dershowitz, 2002). In the contemporary U.S., a large majority of states ***** impose capital punishment for certain crimes involving homicide, subject to ***** rules ***** procedure and due process established ***** ***** Supreme Court in the last quarter of ***** 20th century (Schmalleger, 2007).

In the ***** States, objections ***** ***** death penalty as a criminal punishment have centered around constitutional definitions of "cruel and unusual" and culminated in arguments before the Supreme ***** in 1976. In Gregg v. Georgia the Court decided that ***** punishment is not inherently cruel or unusual provided certain precautions are maintained to ensure a hum*****ne death (Dershowitz, *****). However, evidence suggests that existing guidelines for compliance with constitutional principles are insufficient to eliminate the possibility of *****ty in application, even if not in sentencing (Lancet, 2008).

Beyond the issue of humane application, criminologists examining data from the second half of the 20th ***** ***** determined ***** capital ***** is applied disproportionately ***** criminal defendants who are from racial minorities as well ***** those who are poor (Schmalleger, *****). Finally, the recent advent ***** advanced forensic techniques making use of DNA science have exonerated hundreds of criminal ***** serving time for ***** *****y never committed, among them, more than a few who were on ***** row awaiting execution (Schmalleger, 2007).

Moral Objections and Constitutional Issues:

Religious principles generate a consider*****ble amount of opposition to capital punishment in modern times, despite biblical references to death as an appropriate form of punishment. However, in the U.S., religious ***** are ***** valid criteria for modifying laws; instead, the Constitution dictates the principles that defines ***** distinguishes ***** and inappropriate forms ***** ***** punishment (Dershowitz, 2002).

***** that regard, there are two fundamental constitutional problems with capital punishment, at least in the form currently employed with***** the criminal justice system.

*****, ***** Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits criminal sanctions th***** ***** cruel and unusual punishment (Zalman, *****). Second, the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment (in conjunction with Fifth Amendment due process ***** ***** the federal government) ***** unequal treatment under the law, particularly as a function ***** suspect cl*****sses, *****cluding race (Friedman, 2005; Zalman, 2008).

Cruel *****


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