Capital Punishment Essay

Submitted By onan215
Words: 2211
Pages: 9

At midnight on July 20th, 2012, the much anticipated premiere of the Dark Knight Rises, a sequel to the Batman movie, is set play at the Century 16 movie theaters in Aurora, Colorado. At 12:45 a.m. 12 people are murdered and 58 people are injured in one of the worst massacres in American history. The suspect is a 24 year old, PhD student, who was arrested at the scene carrying an assault rifle capable of holding 100 round magazine, a 12 gage shotgun, and .40 caliber hand gun (Aurora, Colo Theater Shooting Timeline, Facts, 2013). At the moment, this case is still in pretrial. The defense team is seeking a guilty plea deal and life in prison without parole in order to avoid capital punishment. The prosecutors are currently seeking capital punishment. Crime is part of human existence and acts of crime can be dated back to the biblical days and is still prevalent in our society today. The massacre in Aurora, Colorado is bringing this debate front and center in our country and resonating with the citizens as to whether we should be abolishing capital punishment.
Capital punishment can be defined as an “execution of an offender sentenced to death after conviction by a court of law of a criminal offense” (“Capital punishment”, 2013). Capital punishment, also referred to as the death penalty, has been around since the rule of law was introduced over humans. According to Encyclopedia Britannica (2013), this type of punishment can be traced back to as early as the ancient Greeks and the Roman Empire. When looking back into history, religion also played a big role in capital punishment and was prevalent in both Christianity and Judaism. Both of these religions referenced a passage from the book of Genesis that implies if life is taking intentionally than their life shall be taken as well. Christianity and Judaism are religions that make up a huge percentage of the western world and this passage has been ingrained in their followers thought process for thousands of years. Since the western world has a big percentage of both religions, it is reasonable to link how this passage would have influenced government legislatures. It is most likely that these legislatures were active followers of their faith and implemented the Genesis passage into law and has now been a part of the western world legal system dating back to the 18the century. Capital punishment has been practiced in the United States since the late 18th century and has been debated vigorously since then. According to ACLU (2011), the United States did not start tracking the number of criminals put to death until the 1930’s. From the 30’s to the early 70’s, 139 executions a year was the average and that came to a stop in 1972 with Furman v. George case. The Supreme Court ruled that capital punishment violated the Eighth Amendment and declared the death penalty unconstitutional. The justices determined the punishment was administered was inconsistent and unreasonable. The ruling lasted five years before the next Supreme Court Case, Gregg v. Georgia reversed the ruling. In 1976 the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty due to the changes in statutes made by a few states. The court declared changes in the new law would solve the errors which caused the moratorium. During this time frame, many supporters of capital punishment were able to use the moratorium as statistical proof that capital punishment is an effective form of deterrence.
The sole purpose of the judicial law system is to protect the rights of life, liberty and property of all citizens. In order for that system to work, the courts must administer the appropriate punishment for the crime. If a criminal is arrested and sentenced for grand theft auto, then doing time will hopefully provide rehabilitation and a second chance at being a good citizen. The most violent and heinous crimes must be dealt with the strongest punishment available to deter any future potential violators.