Death Penalty: The Eighth Amendment To The United States

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The eighth amendment to the United States Constitution states, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted (US Const. amend. IIX.).” The wording of this amendment has raised the question on what constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. This ambiguity of this section constitution has caused the hot debate, whether or not capital punishment is constitutional or not. The use of capital punishment harms the innocent, wastes money, and is unconstitutional. First in foremost, the use of capital punishment harms the innocent. Ignoring the obvious for a second on this topic, executing the innocent, the death penalty affects everyone involved. Take for example the case Semon Thompson,…show more content…
In addition to the wardens and penal system administrators, the death penalty has effects on the families of the victims. Maryland Judge Joseph P. Manck points out that the appeals lengthy process that comes attached to the sentence (afterall it is a matter of life and death) can cause families to sit through year of retrials for the appeals process. The judge recounts one case taking twenty-five years- and still continuing- for the appeals process (McCaffrey). Now onto the obvious, the capital punishment has sent innocent people to death row and even to the chambers. One hundred fifty-six people on death row have been exonerated since 1973 (“Facts About the Death Penalty”). That means the sanctity of life could have been taken from these people, even though they were innocent. However, it is safe to assume that not all innocent people have been released from death row and were sent to the chambers. Due to the fact that states will spend more time on appeals for people still alive, states will rarely spend time going back to prove the innocence of the dead and thus we do not know how many people have been sent to the gallows. In addition to all of this, from 1973 to 2005 six states have condemned thirteen juveniles to die before their lives have begun (“Execution Database”). The use of capital punishment has has harmed the…show more content…
have laws for capital punishment. However, upon review of these punishments it is easy to see why they should be unconstitutional. These punishments harm the innocent, waste money, and are simply barbaric. When executioners can perform state sanctioned executions without batting an eye there is a problem. Executions simply do not work and cause unnecessary agony. Instead of punishments states should try to focus on
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