Throughout history, statistics have proven that Capital
Punishment or otherwise known as the death penalty, has been
an effective deterrent of major crime. Capital Punishment is the
lawful infliction of death among criminals and has been used to
punish a wide variety of offenses for many years all over the
world (Bedau 16). When the death penalty is enforced, it shows
society that committing a capital crime has deadly consequences.
In early times, many methods of Capital Punishment were
used to deter a variety of crimes. For over a century, the uniform
method for executing persons in America was hanging, although
starvation was very common also. There were exceptions which
included spies, traitors, and deserters who would face a firing
squad. Then in 1888, New York directed the construction of an
'electric chair' (Flanders 11). It was believed that the new
harnessed power of electricity would prove to be a more scientific
and humane means of execution.
The first electrocution took place
in New York in 1890.
In the past, capital crimes were much different than they are
now. Robbery and the selling of alcohol to underage customers
was a serious capital crime (McCuen and Baumgart 21). Rape was
also a crime where the criminal was sentenced to death.
In America, only thirty-seven states authorize the death
penalty. In most of those thirty-seven states, murder is the only
capital crime. The Supreme Court requires that two conditions
must be met in order for a specific murder to warrant the death
penalty (Nardo 32). The first condition is that it must be first
degree murder, which is the deliberate and premeditated taking of
life. The second is that one or more aggravating circumstances
must be present. Aggravating Circumstances refer to those aspects
of a crime that increase its severity. An...