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Sheryl Cranch
English 12
13 March 2015

Death Penalty
65% of people believe the death penalty should still be in order, 31% believe it shouldnt,
and 4% dont have an opinion. The death penalty is a lethal process where a person is put to
death for their crimes. The death penalty is a very controversial topic among Americans.(kkk)
because some argue that it violates the 8th Amendment, which is the banned on cruel and unusual
punishment. Many try to look to the Constitution for support; they can look to the 5 th
Amendment as well, but it is unlikely to help. Americans are split in two on this international
debate. Some say that it is inhuman and is taking away citizens natural born rights. Others say it
falls back on the theory of an eye for an eye.
The death penalty started in the 1800s and has developed to become less painless and a
bit more humane. Criminals facing the death penalties have to go through multiple appeals
before a date is even set. Most cases dont even execute their defendant, they die before the death
is even set. The process can take up to twenty or thirty years. The process takes this long because
detectives have to investigate the scene and evidence to confirm the suspect is, in fact, guilty.
Obviously, in the earlier years of the penalty, the system was not fool proof nor is it now. Many

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cases have been reopened and many have been proven to be innocent. Unfortunately, this cannot
be perfected, but government is always trying to help the process. The defendant is put to death
by lethal injection and the process is estimated to last about ten minutes, though some cases have
lasted longer. There is a case in Arizona that had happened in 2014. The convict took two hours
to pass and suffocated for 90 minutes. There are many horrifying cases that have gone wrong,
but this is where improvement comes in. People will uses cases like this to help argue the case of
cruel and unusual punishment.
There have been many different ways Americans have been executed. There have been
stoning, hangings, burning, etc. The most famous inhumane way Americans remember is the
electric chair. It was introduced in 1924 and was declared inhumane and lasted used in 1976.
Now, in the states of Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, and Virginia still allow it as a choice.
Inmates have the option of electrocution. In the state of Kentucky, if a capital crime was
committed before March 31, 1998, then electrocution is an option. For those crimes committed
after that date then the only option is lethal injection. The drugs used on lethal injection are
sodium thiopental, pancuronium bromide, and potassium chloride. The sodium thiopental is used
to induce unconsciousness, pancuronium bromide is used to muscle paralysis and respiratory
arrest, and potassium chloride is used to stop the heart. Family of the inmate and family of the
inmates victim is allowed to view the death penalty. This is given to the family of the victim as a
sense of closure and again backs up the theory of an eye for an eye. Attorneys are also allowed
during this process. Of course they have doctors present for this seeing how someone is being
put to death.

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Under revised laws, most states use a two part system for trials. The 1st trial is used to
determine a defendants guilt. The second trial is to determine the sentence of the guilty party.
Most of the defendants options are life in prison or death. The trial is a very lengthy process.
First is the arrest for the crime. The preliminary hearing is next. This is when they determine
whether there is sufficient evidence to prosecute an accused person. Grand jury is the next step.
This is where it is decided if indictments should be issued. An indictment is the formal criminal
charge filed by the prosecutor. The intention to seek the death penalty comes before the hearing
on pre-trial sessions. The prosecutor announces the intention for the death penalty. After that, the
opening statements come into play. The prosecutor then presents their case, the defendants case
comes after. Than the closing statements, before the jury casts a verdict. In all states, a death
sentence is reviewed again before taking lethal action. They do this just in case errors occurred
during the initial process. Only 3 people since 1976 have given up their appeals voluntarily. The
only question most people have is does capital punishment take or save lives? An execution of a
known murderer has been associated with three fewer murders. Capital punishment can affect
murder rates. It is found that shorter waits on death row are associated with increased deterrence.
Therefore making it harder to decide whether or not it is actually saving lives or taking peoples
lives. A lot of research has shown that potential murderers respond to the risk of being executed
but one in six of the people sentenced get executed. Which makes the not guilty have no remorse
and it diminishes their fear of getting executed. Also a death row inmate who has exhausted all
appeals can file a petition to review his constitutional rights.
In Connecticut of 2007, a man was sentenced to death for forcing his brother to kill a
woman and her son, but was let off with life in prison. Most people believe it to be a moral
outrage on heinous crimes. It is also argued that the not guilty and guilty parties dont try for

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self-help because they already know they have a legal system to decide for them, which brings us
back to moral outrage.