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Is Capital Punishment Ever Justified?

Decent Essays
Capital punishment, better known as the death penalty, is the act of killing or executing a person who was found guilty of a serious crime, by the government. Capital punishment became widespread during the Middle Ages and was applied throughout Western Europe for more than two thousand years. Although, the call to abolish it started in the 18th century, some of the first countries being Venezuela in 1863, San Marino in 1865, and Costa Rica in 1877. Great Britain abolished the death penalty in 1965 and was permanently outlawed in 1969. By 2004, eighty-one countries had abolished capital punishment, but some countries in the Caribbean, Africa and Asia still use it for ordinary crimes. At present day, China and the United States apply the…show more content…
Thus, public defenders tend to avoid spending the necessary amount of time on a capital case to effectively defend the defendant. Bedau and Cassel concluded “Death sentences are imposed in a criminal justice system that treats you better if you are rich and guilty than if you are poor and innocent.”
Moreover, it is argued that capital punishment may violate Eighth Amendment rights against cruel and unusual punishments. It is cruel because it is a relic of the earliest days of penology, when slavery, branding, and other corporal punishments were commonplace. Like those barbaric practices, it can be argued executions have no place in a civilized society. It is unusual because only the United States of all the western industrialized nations engages in this punishment. It is also unusual because only a random sampling of convicted murderers in the United States receive a sentence of death.
There are also a number of moral arguments against the death penalty. Abolitionists believe in the value and respect of human life. Others believe that the state has no right to kill any of its prisoners, as the life of the criminal cannot compensate for the crime committed. Finally, some see the death penalty as an affront to human dignity and a violation of the offender’s right to live. Nevertheless, there are arguments in favor of capital punishment. When answering a
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