At the onset of this assignment, I believed that capital punishment was wrong for many reasons. At the conclusion of this assignment, I believe even more strongly that the death penalty is wrong, and have come upon more reasons for my belief. It is extremely difficult, however, to find case law that endorses the abolishment of capital punishment, since capital punishment has not been yet overturned. From a legal point of view, the best argument against capital punishment is that it constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eight and Fourteenth amendments to the Constitution. Most people would agree with the statement that the Constitution, and the amendments that follow it, is a dynamic document. In Trop v. Dulles (356 U.S. 86), the Supreme Court stated that the eighth amendment contained " an evolving standard of decency that marked the progress of a maturing society". Basically, what the Court was saying that while the Constitution was up for interpretation, that interpretation should be looked at as time goes along to ensure that that interpretation is still valid. In 1972, the landmark case of Furman v. Georgia (408 U.S.238, 33 L Ed 2d 346), the Supreme Court effectively suspended the death penalty by finding death penalty statutes around the country unconstitutional. The Court stated that when the "death penalty ceases realistically to further (the aims of deterrence and retribution) its imposition would then be the pointless and needless extinction of life ". Basically, the Court found that the death penalty is cruel and unusual if the punishment was too severe for the crime, if it was arbitrary, or if it was no more effective than a less severe penalty. Unfortunately, the opinion given by the Court in the Furman case just allowed the states to draw up new statutes that were made sure tin follow the new guidelines set forth by the court. In the case of Gregg v. Georgia (428 U.S. 153,96 S.Ct.2909), the Court found,... [continues]
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