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:

Capital 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 France, and hang*****g by the neck was frequently imposed in the U.S. well ********** the 20th century.

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

In ***** ***** States, objections ***** the death penalty as a criminal punishment have centered around constitutional definitions of "cruel and unusual" and culminated in arguments be*****e the Supreme ***** in 1976. In Gregg v. Georgia ***** Court decided that capital punishment is not inherently ***** or ***** provided certain precautions are maintained to ensure a humane ***** (Dershowitz, 2002). However, evidence suggests that existing guidelines for compliance with constitutional principles ***** insufficient to eliminate the possibility of cruelty in application, even if not in sentencing (Lancet, 2008).

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

Moral Objections and Constitutional Issues:

Religious principles generate a consider*****ble amount of opposition to capital ***** in modern times, despite biblical references to ***** as an appropriate form of punishment. However, in the U.S., religious ***** are not valid criteria for modifying laws; instead, the Constitution dictates the principles ***** defines ***** distinguishes appropriate and inappropriate *****ms of criminal punishment (Dershowitz, 2002).

***** that regard, there are two fundamental ***** problems with capital punishment, at le*****t in the form currently employed within the ***** justice system.

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

Cruel and


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