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Death Penalty in America

  • Date Submitted: 04/30/2010 03:01 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 47.4 
  • Words: 1094
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The United States is on an
execution rampage. Since capital
punishment was reinstated by
the Supreme Court in the 1976
Gregg v. Georgia decision, more
than 525 men and women have
been put to death by the state.
More than 150 of these
executions have taken place
since 1996. 3,500 people are on
death row today, awaiting their
turn with theCapital punishment has existed
throughout most of the course
of our nation’s history. By the
mid-1960s, however, public
opposition to the death penalty
had reached an all-time high, and the
practice was banned by the Supreme
Court in the 1972 Furman v. Georgia
decision. The Court held that state death
penalty statutes were devoid of any
standards, and that they therefore gave too
much discretion to individual judges and
juries to exact the ultimate punishment.
Soon after the Furman decision, states
began passing new laws that provided
sentencing guidelines for juries. The
Supreme Court was given another
opportunity to address the issue of capital
punishment in 1976, in Gregg v. Georgia,
and it ruled that “the punishment of death
does not invariably violate the
Constitution.” Since this ruling, capital
punishment rates have grown exponentially
in the United States.
In 1994, the Federal Death Penalty Act
authorized capital punishment for more than
60 offenses, including some crimes that do not
involve murder. Moreover, the 1996 Anti-
Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty
Act created new barriers to effective federal
review of constitutional claims in capital
cases. Congress and many states have also
slashed funding for most of the legal
representation death row inmates formerly
received from death penalty resource centers.
Capital punishment, the ultimate denial of
civil liberties, is a costly, irreversible and
barbaric practice, the epitome of cruel and
unusual punishment. It does not deter
crime, and the way it is implemented is
grotesquely unfair.
Regardless of one’s viewpoint...

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