25 November 2007
Capital Punishment: Our Solution to Excessive Crime
In the United States of America, the first known execution was of Captain George Kendall. He was shot and killed by a firing squad for being accused of sowing discord and mutiny. Black's Law Dictionary defines capital punishment as "the execution of a convicted criminal by the State as punishment for crimes known as capital crimes or capital offences." Some say that capital punishment is a cruel and unusual punishment which would violate the Eighth Amendment, yet it has been in effect for centuries worldwide; others support the idea that one should be appropriately punished for the crimes committed according to the law.
According to California state law one must be convicted of first degree murder with special circumstances such as train wrecking, treason, or perjury causing executions to receive the death penalty. In Texas however, you would only need to commit criminal homicide with one of eight aggravating circumstances. Also, the minimum age requirement is only seventeen years of age at the time of the offense. The Death Penalty Information Center confirms that Texas is the leader when it comes to the use of capital punishment.
When it comes to the worldwide use of the death penalty, eighty-eight countries have abolished its use for all crimes. Sixty-eight countries still retain and use capital punishment, but some of those countries do not even execute prisoners. In 2005, ninety-four percent of all known executions took place in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the U.S. Sixty of those who were sentenced to death were executed in the United States. Since the turn of the century, the following methods of executions were implemented worldwide: beheading, electrocution, hanging, lethal injection, shooting, and stoning. America only uses electrocution and lethal injection. In some cases, even minors can be sentenced to death. There are...