Capital Punishment

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate July 2001

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Capital Punishment First of all, capital punishment is constitutional. The 8th Amendment of the Constitution prohibits the use of "cruel and unusual punishments;"� however, the death penalty does not fall under those prohibited punishments. According to Justice Antonin Scalia in a concurring opinion of Callins v. Collins in 1994, "The (5th Amendment) clearly permits the death penalty to be imposed and establishes beyond doubt that the death penalty is not one of the "˜cruel and unusual punishments' prohibited by the 8th Amendment"� (Angel on Death A statement from the U.S. Supreme Court, released in September of 2000, states, "The framers of the Constitution did not perceive death as excessive penalty for serious crimes"¦they wrote (it) to prevent bizarre and torturous methods of preceding ages, such as boiling a prisoner alive in oil, or burning at the stake"� (Death Penalty 342). It is clear that the majority of U.S. Supreme Court, the highest court in the United States, agrees that the death penalty is not a "cruel and unusual punishment."�

Therefore, the death penalty is perfectly legal in the eyes of the Constitution.

Secondly, capital punishment does not lead to miscarriages of justice. There is no proof that definitely shows that innocent people are being killed by the installment of capital punishment. The Bedau-Radelet study is the basis for the argument that innocents are dying, but a year after a study was done, Stephen Markman reevaluated their findings and concluded in 1987 that "the study's methodology was so flawed that at least 12 (out of 23) cases had no evidence of innocence and substantial evidence of guilt"� (Markman 41). Because of the various flaws in the Bedau-Radelet study, there cannot be a definite agreement that innocent people were executed. Even in an article written in September of 1994, Eric Zorn,