Capital Punishment


The theory "a life for a life" is "as old as civilization itself"
(McCiellan 9). The development of civilizations established what we call
justice today. , the execution of a criminal convicted of a
crime, or the legal taking of the life of a criminal, can be divided into three
categories: first, crimes against the person; second, crimes against property;
and third, crimes which endanger the security of the nation (Horwitz 13).
Capital punishment is still in use in the United States today, but has been
abolished by many countries (II 536). The countries that still have the death
penalty on their books, rarely employ it .

The earliest writings on the subject dates as far back as 2000 B. ...

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of the states in this era (II
536). In England, in the 18th century, there were approximately 220 offenses
punishable by death. Some of them would today be considered as misdemeanors
and petty crimes (i. e. shooting of a rabbit, the theft of a pocket handkerchief,
and to cut down a cherry tree) (Horwitz 13). The majority of these were crimes
dealing with property. However, transportation became an alternative to
execution in the 17th century. A lot of these criminals were shipped to the U.S.
(28).

In the early days of our Constitution, the only segments that showed
that the death penalty existed were two amendments in the Bill of Rights (Landau
11). These amendments deal with protection and rights of the accused. The fifth
amendment prohibits the state from depriving an individual of life without due
process of law. The eight amendment prohibits "cruel and unusual" punishment.
The Supreme Court has still not determined what this phrase means. In one case
in the 1890s, the ...

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capital punishment is justified
in only one case; Beccaria argues that "when [a criminal], though deprived of
liberty, he has such power and connections as may endanger the security of the
nation", he should be executed (Szumski 24). This relates to justify capital
punishment in cases of spying, which still is a controversial issue today.
Religious opposers argue that the death penalty "contradicts the
teachings of love and mercy" (Szumski 86). At the same time a religious
supporter, Haven Bradford Gow, claims that the Bible justifies "an eye for an
eye and a tooth for a tooth" as stated in the Catholic Bible in the Fifth
commandment:

"Another kind of slaying belongs to the civil ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 8/24/2007 09:01:16 AM
Category: Legal Issues
Type: Free Paper
Words: 1660
Pages: 7

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