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Copyright 2014 by Attorney Carlos Gamino
used to enact the death penalty; it prohibits “cruel and unusual punishments” for mentally competent adults.
Although the death penalty is in effect in more than half of our states, America seems to be increasingly polarized on this issue – particularly considering the May 15 death sentence for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for his role in the Boston bombing.
Methods Used to Execute Criminals in the U.S.
Since the colonization of the United States in the 1600s, Americans have executed criminals for everything from murder and kidnapping to treason and pilfering. Historically, execution techniques were varied and somewhat brutal compared to today’s forms of execution. In Utah, beheading remained a legal method of execution from 1850 to 1888, although the state never used the technique.
Currently, hanging is still legal in two states: New Hampshire and Washington. Following the invention of the electric chair and development of cyanide gas in the 20th century, gassing and electrocution replaced nearly all other methods of execution.
The 32 states that have legalized capital punishment typically use lethal injection. Chemicals in the deadly cocktail include a powerful barbiturate that acts as a sedative, a neuromuscular-blocking drug that causes paralysis and a strong potassium chloride solution for induction of cardiac arrest.
There are myriad claims in favor of the death penalty, including the fact that it upholds the belief of “an eye for an eye,” that it helps deter serious crimes and that it offers closure to victims’ loved ones. There are just as many against it, though, including the fact that it hasn’t been proven to deter crime, it risks the execution of innocent people, and according to many faiths, goes against religious teachings. Further, some states exhibit racial and socioeconomic biases when executing prisoners.
We don’t have the death penalty in Wisconsin – we haven’t since 1853. Neither do any of our neighboring states, aside from Indiana.
Which side of the issue are you on? Do you think that the death penalty is the ultimate justice for some crimes, or do you think that it’s a barbaric practice that the rest of the states should wipe out?
Currently, 32 U.S. states use capital punishment. The remaining 18 states have penalties as severe as life imprisonment, but they stop there.
Any Constitution buff knows that the Eighth Amendment limits the methods
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Death Penalties Around the U.S. - Barbaric or Appropriate
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