Death Penalty and the Eighth Amendment

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Death Penalty and The Eighth Amendment

The expression "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" has taken on a whole new meaning. Lately, murderers have been getting a punishment equal to their crime, death. In 1967, executions in the United States were temporarily suspended to give the federal appellate courts time to decide whether or not the death penalty was unconstitutional. Then, in 1972, the United States Supreme Court ruled in the case of "Furman versus Georgia" that the death penalty violated the Eight Amendments. According to the Eighth Amendment, "Excessive bail shall not be required, no excessive fines imposed, nor cruel or unusual punishments inflicted." After the Supreme Court made this ruling, states reviewed their death penalty laws. In 1976, in the case of "Gregg versus Georgia" the Supreme Court ruled state death penalty laws were not unconstitutional. Presently in the United States the death penalty can only be used as punishment for intentional killing. Still, the death penalty violates the Eighth Amendment and should be outlawed in the United States.

Currently in the United States there are five methods used for executing criminals: the electric chair, gas chamber, lethal injection, hanging, and firing squad, each of them equally cruel and unusual in there own ways.

When a person is sentenced to death by electrocution he strapped to a chair and electrodes are attached to his head and leg. The amount of voltage is raised and lowered a few times and death is supposed to occur within three minutes. Three whole minutes with electricity flowing through someone's body, while his flesh burns. Three minutes may not seem like a very long time, but to someone who is waiting for his body to die, three minutes can feel like an eternity.

Three minutes is the approximate time it takes for a person to die if everything goes right, but in some cases it takes longer for people to die. In 1990, Jesse Tafero, a prisoner in Florida,...
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