Capital Punishment: Cruel and Unusual?

Essay by petmykittynowCollege, UndergraduateA+, December 2003

download word file, 6 pages 3.4

My essay is argumentative on whether or not the death penalty is crule and unusual punishment or necessary means of punishment. Specific laws are quoted for the State of Washington. Other points brought up are: the wrongfully convicted and sentenced, procedure once found guilty, and other statistical information nationwide regarding means of execution and death toll.

In 2002, 71 inmates were executed in various states with in the U.S. 70 of the executions were carried out by lethal injection, only one by electrocution. The state that is notorious for carrying out the death penalty is Texas. Holding the highest record for executions in 2002 with a total of 33. However, it is up to each individual state to determine whether or not the convicted person is eligible for the death penalty because of their crime(s) committed. The moral, useful, and practical issue of capital punishment has been an ongoing battle between government and society in determining if it is cruel and unusual punishment or retribution in justifying a person's crime.

Since 1904, 77 people have been executed in Washington State. The State carries out the death penalty by the means of lethal injection, unless the defendant chooses hanging. The following information is the definition given by the Washington State Department of Corrections of "aggravated first degree murder" charge in which a person, if found guilty and convicted, will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole or death:

(Please note this information is not counted in final word or page count.)

RCW 10.95.020


*** CHANGE IN 2003 *** (SEE 5758.SL) ***

A person is guilty of aggravated first degree murder if he or she commits first degree murder as defined by RCW 9A.32.030(1)(a), as now or hereafter amended, and one or more of the...