Death penalty is a legal process where an individual is subjected to death by state government as a punishment for violating the law or engaging in serious crime. In the United States various court rulings determined the consistency of the enforcement of the death penalty law. Furman V. Georgia is one of the court rulings that occurred in 1972. It the Supreme Court decision that determined the verdict of the enactment of the death penalty.
The determination of the first enactment of the law of death penalty often depends on the sources and the legal jurisdiction of the action. Gerald (2010) asserts that even minor offenses such as stealing grapes, killing chicken, and trading with undesired groups like Indians called for the death penalty as a punishment. Thompson Jefferson apparently introduced the first move to enact the death penalty in the US. In most countries in the world practicing capital punishment crimes such as sexual crimes, murder, espionage, drug trafficking, corruption, and treason are punishable by death penalty. However, no particular action calls for the enactment and the course of the law except a few clear patterns. The US political forces of democracy worked to equalize the punishment and to limit the state power in order to establish legal protection of the individuals. The translation of final reforms is a result of routine occurrences of political offenses that the state official responds to. Most historical practices indicate the death penalty as the major justice systems.
“The Supreme Court decision of Furman V. Georgia” (1972) ruled that death penalty punishment is unfair and painful to the offender, society, and the civil society. Several other amendments led to the Furman ruling decision to view the capital punishment as being “cruel and unusual” (Gerald, 2010). It then made several death penalty statutes be perceived as unconstitutional. Therefore, the ruling invalided the punishment administered by death penalty in a bid to prevent people from committing capital offences.
Nonetheless, even with the Furman court decision, the American society still found a way out when it came to making decisions regarding how they could rewrite death penalty statutes in order to avoid the problems stated in the Furman case. This also gave those advocating for the capital punishment an opportunity to propose measures of ending the trials in capital punishment. According to Guernsey (2010), some states instead removed all the discretions that by legalizing capital punishment even those who are not found guilty or innocent might be convicted and sentenced to death penalty even when the crimes might not constitute to capital offenses. Other states sort to limit the discretion by introducing guidelines for sentences between the prosecution and the convict.
However, debates about capital punishment have become heated in the US institutions. Those supporting capital punishment often argue that the practice is important in preserving law and order. Nonetheless, Palmer (1998) cites that death penalty suppresses criminology and is less costly than life imprisonment. It also prevents the offender the chance to cause future crime. In this context, capital punishment is an ultimate and a stern warning thereby preventing criminals who know that they will be put to death from getting involved in capital offenses.
On the other death penalty has no clear treatment and mission to resolve crimes except to promote execution of those perceived to have committed capital offenses. In other words, the practice gives no time for the offender to recover and obtain teachings for good morals. Gerald (2010) further asserts that western countries experience conflict between the practice of capital punishment and the values of liberalism and humanitarians. That is, through death penalty, the government has often taken the life of human being including those who are innocent. This has promoted social injustices by inappropriately targeting specific group of human race and social class by disregarding the real cause of the offense. McFarland (1998) argues that the constitution does not require death penalty because the punishment does very little in warning, preventing, and discouraging the offenders. In fact, crime would reduce in the world if capital punishment served as a warning against committing crime especially those that are as capital offences.
In conclusion, through the Furman vs. Georgia cases, the US court was influenced to rethink about its future statutes for future capital offenses. The states have enacted a long term decision. At the same time, many states have enacted laws and regulation regarding how to handle capital crimes after abolishing capital punishment.
Garland, D. (2010). Peculiar institution: America's death penalty in an age of abolition. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Guernsey, J. A. B. (2010). Death penalty: Fair solution or moral failure? Minneapolis: Twenty-First Century Books.
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Palmer, L. J. (1998). The death penalty: An American citizen's guide to understanding federal and state laws. Jefferson, NC: McFarland Co.
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