Capital Punishment, proven to be an effective deterrent of major crime

Essay by Mike8 January 1996

download word file, 4 pages 3.0

Downloaded 225 times

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...