Capital Punishment and Death Penalty Statutes

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THE ULTIMATE PRICE: A Look into Capital Punishment in America

Many Americans claim that capital punishment is a cruel and unusual punishment and goes against a persons constitutional rights. On the other hand, many Americans support it and claim it is against ther constitutional right not to carry out the death penalty. How are we to know what is right? In all honesty, facts, papers, journals, etc. can not decide how I am truly going to feel about a subject that is very much a macro-argument. None the less, here Americans sit, letting "their" opinion being primarily based off of claims and subclaims made by one side or the other. I guess that is what we will do here. I believe that if we are to look at papers, we might as well look at the whole knowledge of the subject. 1636 - The first death penalty statutes are recorded in the New World. 1847 - Michigan becomes the first English-speaking territory in the world to abolish the death penalty, excluding cases of treason. 1930s - From 1930 to 1939, 1,667 people are executed, more than in any other decade. 1960s - Public opinion turns against the death penalty. While 40 states authorize capital punishment, by 1967 executions virtually cease. June 29, 1972 - In Furman v. Georgia, the U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 that the arbitrary application of the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment, and therefore unconstitutional. July 2,1976 - The Supreme Court votes 7-2 to reinstate the death penalty in Gregg v. Georgia. January 17, 1977 - Gary Gilmore becomes the first person executed in 10 years. June 29, 1977 - The Supreme Court votes 7-2 in Coker v. Georgia that use of the death penalty in rape cases is disproportionate to the crime, and therefore unconstitutional. 1982 - DNA testing is first used as evidence in court to exonerate a condemned prisoner.

June 11, 2001 - Oklahoma City Federal Building bomber Timothy McVeigh is the first federal prisoner executed in 38 years. June 20, 2002 - The...
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