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

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

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

In ***** United States, objections to the 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 ***** provided certain precautions are maintained ***** ensure a humane ***** (Dershowitz, *****). However, evidence suggests that existing guidelines for compliance with constitutional principles ***** insufficient to eliminate the possibility of cruelty in application, even if ***** ***** sentencing (Lancet, 2008).

Beyond the issue of humane application, criminologists examining data from the second half of the 20th ***** have determined ***** capital punishment is applied disproportionately ***** ***** defendants who are ***** racial minorities ***** well as 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 crimes they never committed, among them, more than a few ***** were on death 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 ***** ***** an appropriate *****m of punishment. However, ***** the U.S., religious ***** are not valid criteria for modifying laws; instead, ***** Constitution dictates the principles that defines ***** distinguishes appropriate and inappropriate ********** ***** criminal punishment (Dershowitz, 2002).

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

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

Cruel *****


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