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


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Criminal Justice - Systematic Problem

***** PROBLEM WITH CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

The Problem of Capital Punishment in the United States:

***** punishment has been a feature of human social justice since before recorded history. Generally, civilized societies reserve the ultimate form ***** punishment for ***** most serious crimes, such as the murder of ano*****r, 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 into the 20th century.

In several Middle Eastern countries, capital ***** ***** still imposed for ***** "crimes" as homosexuality; in others, including some of the wealthiest, modern, ***** so- called "moderate" Islamic nations, ***** death penalty is not formally sanctioned ***** law, but 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 ***** certain crimes involving homicide, subject to ***** rules of procedure and due process established by the Supreme Court in the last quarter of ***** 20th century (Schmalleger, 2007).

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

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

Moral Objections and Constitutional Issues:

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

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

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

Cruel and

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