The death penalty also known as capital punishment is the execution of a convicted criminal by the state; this is used as a method of punishment for capital offenses and capital crimes. The execution of criminals and political opponents was used by nearly the entire world; its purpose was to punish crime and to suppress political dissent. Most of the European, Pacific Area states and Canada have abolished capital punishment. However in Latin America not all countries have abolished the use of this punishment, Brazil uses it in exceptional situations, such as treason committed during wartime. The United States and most of the Caribbean still retain this form of punishment. In most places that practice capital punishment today, the death penalty is reserved as punishment for premeditated murder, espionage and treason or as part of military justice. In some countries sexual crimes, such as rape, adultery and sodomy carry the death penalty. In many countries that use the death penalty, drug trafficking is also consider a capital offense. According to the DPIC, Britain was the influence on America's use of the death penalty more than any other country. When European settlers came to the new world, they brought the practice of capital punishment. The death penalty has existed for as long as there have been criminals. In England, Henry VIII, king of England from 1509 to 1547, was a big fan of the death penalty. During his reign, more than 72,000 people were executed including two of his six wives. By the 1700s, more than 222 crimes were punishable by death in Britain. (Current Events, 2006.) In the United States capital punishment or the execution of a criminal can be trace back to the 1608 with the execution of Captain George Kendall in the Jamestown Colony of Virginia; he was executed for being a spy for Spain. (Death Penalty Information Center, 2007) According to the Supreme Court Debates, capital punishment was common for the next two centuries,...
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