Does the death penalty violate the 8th amendment against cruel or unusual punishment?

i have a debate coming up with my partner Mikkie and its part of final grade in US History.

we have to win this debate because i need to get an A in this class and so we would appreciate some help(:

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  • 9 years ago
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    No.

    Is the Death Penalty Constitutional? Is this a serious question?

    Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters, contact info below

    Twice, the 5th Amendment authorizes execution.

    (1) “ No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury . . . ” and

    (2) “. . . nor shall any person . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law . . . ”.

    The 14th amendment is, equally, clear:

    ” . . . nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law . . .”

    Not surprisingly, over 200 years of US Supreme Court decisions support those amendments and the US Constitution in authorizing and enforcing the death penalty.

    Some wrongly believe that the US Supreme Court decision, Furman v Georgia (1972), found the death penalty unconstitutional. It did not.

    The decisions found that the "statutory enforcement" of the death penalty in the US was a violation of the 8th Amendment.

    It did not find, nor can it, that the death penalty, per se, violates the 8th Amendment.

    Based upon the death penalty being integral within the constitution, through the 5th and 14th amendments, I do not believe it will ever be found unconstitutional.

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  • 9 years ago

    That is a common argument, but I think there are much more compelling reasons to oppose capital punishment:

    - Mistakes happen. Since 1973 in the U.S., 138 people have been released from death row with evidence of their innocence. These are ALL people who had been found guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt." A life sentence is reversible. An execution is not.

    - Cost - because of the legal apparatus designed to minimize wrongful executions (and the enormous expense of death row incarceration), it costs taxpayers MUCH more to execute someone than to imprison them for life.

    - It is not a deterrent - violent crime rates are consistently HIGHER in death penalty jurisdictions.

    - It is inconsistently and arbitrarily applied.

    - Because the U.S. is one of the last remaining nations with capital punishment, many other countries refuse to extradite known criminals who should be standing trial here.

    - It fosters a culture of violence by asserting that killing is an acceptable solution to a problem.

    - Jesus was against it (see Matthew 5:7 & 5:38-39, James 4:12, Romans 12:17-21, John 8:7, and James 1:20).

    - Life without parole (LWOP) is on the books in most states now (all except Alaska), and it means what it says. People who get this sentence are taken off the streets. For good.

    - As Voltaire once wrote, "let the punishments of criminals be useful. A hanged man is good for nothing; a man condemned to public works still serves the country, and is a living lesson."

    - Whether you’re a hardened criminal or a government representing the people, killing an unarmed human being is wrong. Period. “He did it first” is not a valid excuse.

    I hope that helps. Good luck in your debate!

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  • 5 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.

    RE:

    Does the death penalty violate the 8th amendment against cruel or unusual punishment?

    i have a debate coming up with my partner Mikkie and its part of final grade in US History.

    we have to win this debate because i need to get an A in this class and so we would appreciate some help(:

    Source(s): death penalty violate 8th amendment cruel unusual punishment: https://shortly.im/YQW5m
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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Against

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  • Irv S
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    Nope.

    At the time of it's writing the death penalty was quite common and accepted.

    Cruel and unusual referred to Whipping branding drawing and quaretering and the like,

    also in common use in Europe at the time.

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  • 9 years ago

    A good place to start is at http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/student-resource-c...

    Click on ideas for research papers and debates.

    So far, the Supreme Court has not ruled that the death penalty violates the 8th amendment in general. However, it has found that it violates the 8th amendment if applied to people under 18 at the time of their crime, people with mental retardation and people who are not sane enough at the time of execution to know what is happening and why.

    In the meantime, my take, with supporting facts.

    For the worst crimes, life without parole is better, for many reasons. I’m against the death penalty not because of sympathy for criminals but because it isn’t effective in reducing crime, prolongs the anguish of families of murder victims, costs a whole lot more than life in prison, and, worst of all, risks executions of innocent people.

    The worst thing about it. Errors:

    The system can make tragic mistakes. In 2004, the state of Texas executed Cameron Todd Willingham for starting the fire that killed his children. The Texas Forensic Science Commission found that the arson testimony that led to his conviction was based on flawed science. As of today, 138 wrongly convicted people on death row have been exonerated. DNA is rarely available in homicides, often irrelevant (as in Willingham’s case) and can’t guarantee we won’t execute innocent people. Capital juries are dominated by people who favor the death penalty and are more likely to vote to convict.

    Keeping killers off the streets for good:

    Life without parole, on the books in most states, also prevents reoffending. It means what it says, and spending the rest of your life locked up, knowing you’ll never be free, is no picnic. Two big advantages:

    -an innocent person serving life can be released from prison

    -life without parole costs less than the death penalty

    Costs, a surprise to many people:

    Study after study has found that the death penalty is much more expensive than life in prison. Since the stakes are so high, the process is far more complex than for any other kind of criminal case. The largest costs come at the pre-trial and trial stages. The tremendous expenses in a death penalty case apply whether or not the defendant is convicted, let alone sentenced to death.

    Crime reduction (deterrence):

    The death penalty doesn't keep us safer. Homicide rates for states that use the death penalty are consistently higher than for those that don’t. The most recent FBI data confirms this. For people who lack a conscience, fear of being caught is the best deterrent.

    Who gets it:

    Contrary to popular belief, the death penalty isn't reserved for the worst crimes, but for defendants with the worst lawyers. It doesn't apply to people with money. Practically everyone sentenced to death had to rely on an overworked public defender. How many people with money have been executed??

    Victims:

    People assume that families of murder victims want the death penalty imposed. It isn't necessarily so. Some are against it on moral grounds. But even families who have supported the death penalty in principle have testified to the protracted and unavoidable damage that the death penalty process does to families like theirs and that life without parole is an appropriate alternative.

    It comes down to whether we should keep a system for the sake of retribution or revenge even though it isn’t effective in reducing violent crime, costs much more than life sentences and, worst of all, can lead to the nightmare of executing someone for a crime he didn’t commit.

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  • 5 years ago
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  • 9 years ago

    No.

    Source(s): The Supreme Court has said so.
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