Capital Punishment Research Paper

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Capital Punishment
Matt Meeks

Political Science
Mr. Lawrence
16 November 2011

Matt Meeks 14
Mr. Lawrence
POLS 1113
16 November 2011
Capital Punishment
The justice system is a complicated area of government; not all states enforce the death penalty, because criminal punishment is a subject left for the states to decide (Banner, 2002). There are multiple methods of execution available to enforce the death penalty; different states enforce different methods, even multiple methods (Death Penalty Information Center, 2010). There are some people that argue the death penalty is a form of cruel and unusual punishment and should be prohibited by the constitution (Banner, 2002). According to the American Civil Liberties Union, some people believe that only the defendant should have the power to choose whether or not he or she is to receive the death penalty, not the judge; they argue that capital punishment should not be pushed on to the person, and that the judge should be limited to deciding the length of the sentence (American Civil Liberties Union, 2011). The death penalty is an extremely controversial subject on the national and state levels of government (Bedau, 1997). Only thirty-five of the fifty states enforce the death penalty. The other fifteen states support a life sentence without parole (Death Penalty Information Center, 2010). The death penalty is one of the reserved powers left to the states by the Constitution of the United States in the tenth amendment. The individual states can choose how to punish the criminals in their respective states (Bedau, 1997). The states that do not have the death penalty include: Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. New Mexico abolished the death penalty with two inmates left on death row (Death Penalty Information Center, 2010). There are multiple...
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