Argumentative Essay: Opposing Capital Punishment

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English Composition
October 12, 2011

Argumentative Essay: Opposing Capital Punishment

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, a brief overview of capital punishment throughout history would go like this: Back in the eighteenth century B.C. death penalty laws were first established in the Code of King Hammaurabi of Babylon. In the eleventh century A.D. William the Conqueror did not allow people to be hanged except in cases of murder. As of 1608, Captain George Kendall became the first recorded execution in the new colonies. Jane Champion was the first women executed in the new colonies in 1632. In 1834 Pennsylvania became the first state to move executions into correctional facilities. Michigan became the first state to abolish the death penalty for all crimes except treason in 1846. As of 1890, William Kemmler became the first person executed by electrocution. Between 1907 and 1917 nine states abolished the death penalty for all crimes or they strictly limited it. In 1924 the use of cyanide gas was introduced as an execution method. In the 1930s executions reached its highest levels in American history- averaging 167 deaths per year. As of 1977, Oklahoma became the first state to adopt lethal injection as a method of execution. December 7th 1982 Charles Brookes became the first person executed by lethal injection. In January 1999 Pope John Paul visited St. Louis, Missouri and called for an end to the death penalty. In March 2011 Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation to repeal the death penalty in Illinois by replacing it with life without parole this year (Death Penalty Information Center).

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Capital Punishment is the sentencing of death to a convicted criminal. The type of execution varies by state. It is important since people are being executed in different ways for different reasons. Capital punishment should not be an acceptable way of delivering justice for many reasons including state law differences in methods of execution and prisoners choice of injection, racial discrimination, non-rehabilitated criminals, wrongfully accused criminals, and the executions of the mentally ill.

It is not fair to the criminals that they have to receive different types of Capital Punishments depending on the states. For example a person commits a crime by killing a child in Nebraska the criminal would get the electric chair and in Texas the criminal would receive the lethal injection. Different states use lethal injection, electrocution, lethal gas, firing squad, and hanging to deliver Capital Punishment. Lethal injection is the method of putting a needle into a person’s body to inject fluid. The fluid contains barbiturate, tubocurarine, or succinylcholine (Sorell, 2). It causes paralysis and prevents breathing which leads to death by suffocation (Sorell, 2). Nine states in the United States have no death penalty and including only Washington D.C. in Maryland (Update: Death Penalty, 4). Seven states have the option for prisoners to choose between lethal injection and another method (Update: Death Penalty, 4). Thirty-eight states use lethal injection (Update: Death Penalty, 4). Nebraska is the only state that uses the electric chair (Update: Death Penalty, 4). The thirty-eight states, and including Washington D.C. the death penalty is used to punish convicted killers (Update: Death Penalty, 2). Texas has put the most

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people to death and the second is Virginia (Update: Death Penalty, 2). In thirty-eight states jury’s sentence convicts to death after their guilt has been determined in the previous trial (Death Penalty, 2). Most states have laws that say death penalty is used only in cases of murder (Death Penalty, 2). Judges are allowed to decide on whether or not to override a jury’s decision to put in capital punishment which is allowed in only four states (Death Penalty, 2). The states should agree on one type capital punishment or better yet, none at all.

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