Example research essay topic: Constitutional Argument In Support Of Capital Punishment – 1,126 words

In my opinion, one of the most controversial
topics in the Supreme Court is the idea of capital
punishment. The Eighth Amendment of the United
States constitution guarantees freedom from cruel
and unusual punishment but the Supreme Court has
upheld the constitutionality of the death penalty
in todays society. Thirty-eight states and the
federal government authorize capital punishment
and the number of people on death row has risen to
more than 3,500 (Clear and Cole). Of the yearly
22,000 arrests each year for murder only about 300
will receive the death penalty (Clear and Cole).
There are several different views on the death
penalty that some people accept or reject based on
their political or moral views. In the 1930s,
there were about 150 executions per year but then
it was on a steady decline until the case of
Furman v. Georgia in 1972.

This case ruled that
the death penalty was constituted as cruel and
unusual punishment. So the death penalty was
banned until 1976 in the case of Gregg v. Georgia
in which the court decided to have two different
trials: 1-to prove if the defendant was guilty or
innocent, 2- to decide what the punishment should
be. This second trial takes in concern the
criminals prior record, youthfulness, mental
issues, or the lack of a criminal record. The
purpose of the two-stage decision-making process
is to ensure thorough deliberation before someone
is given the ultimate punishment (Clear and Cole).
So after this case the number of executions have
increased but since this case the most amount of
executions was 74 in 1997(ACLU). Today 38 states
use the death penalty in several different ways:
lethal injection, electrocution, lethal gas,
hanging, or a firing squad.

There are many people
that oppose the death penalty and even states like
Alaska, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts,
Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Rhode Island,
Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and District of
Columbia (Cleveland State Law Review 5). People
say state there rejection of the death penalty by
saying We simply do not believe that
premeditated, state-sanctioned killing is
justifiable under any circumstances. The death
penalty brutalizes us. It is an indication of how
little our government values human life (Christian
Science Monitor). Opponents of the death penalty
argue that it is not applied consistently, it
discriminates against minorities and the poor, and
the people who were executed could have been
innocent. In 1999, eight people were freed and
declared innocent of the crime that they committed
(Christian Science Monitor).

Another fact was in
1997, when Pedro Medinas head caught on fire when
he was being electrocuted in Florida and also in
Florida, in 1999, when Allen Davis started to
bleed from his nose and when the machine was off
he was still breathing. This just shows the cruel
punishment and unconsistentence it renders. It is
also unfair to minorities especially the black
population. Blacks make up for 12% of the U.S.
population but account for 35% of those who are on
death row. And for the poor who cannot even afford
a lawyer and so they get appointed a very
inexperienced lawyer. Like in the case of
Strickland v.

Washington in 1984, when David
Washingtons attorney did not call any witnesses,
did not seek a presentence report, or did not
cross-examine medical experts. But Washington was
rejected this claim. It is not proven that states
with the death penalty help decrease their
homicide rate: New York had no death penalty law
until recently, but had a high rate of homicide.
Similarly, although California has a death penalty
law, it also has a high homicide rate. Likewise,
Maine has no death penalty law and has a low
homicide rate while New Hampshire has the death
penalty and also has a low homicide rate
(Cleveland Law Review 13). Another factor in
banning the death penalty is the cost that the
death penalty brings with it. California could
save them 90 million if the death penalty would be
abolished and it will cost New York 118 million
each year since they reinstated the death penalty
(Clear and Cole).

But for the proponents of the
death penalty, which is about 70-75% of the United
States population, are in favor of keeping the
death penalty (Clear and Cole). The death penalty
can be used as retribution or as a deterrent. The
death penalty serves as retribution to the victims
families. Anyone that takes the life of someone
else should have theirs taken (known as an eye for
an eye). The death penalty prevents murders from
doing further harm to anyone else. Even stated in
the Jewish Torah: If a man strikes another man
with an iron instrument and causes his death, he
is a murderer and shall be put to death.

If a man
strikes another with a death-dealing stone in his
hand and causes his death, he is murderer and
shall be put to death. If a man strikes another
with a death-dealing club in his hand and causes
his death, he is a murderer and shall be put to
death (Cleveland Law Review 8). Also in the
Islamic Koran uses the phrase an eye for an eye.
In my opinion, the death penalty definitely is a
deterrent because if someone knew they would be
put to death for committing a murder then they
might have second thoughts. The opponents say most
crimes are in the heat of passion or under the
influence of drugs or alcohol but by executing
murders society is putting a high value placed on
life. It is also cheaper to give someone the death
penalty then keep them in prison for life. Those
are the main reasons for keeping the death
penalty.

In my opinion, I fully support the death
penalty for several different reasons. I believe
that if you kill someone your life should be also
taken for the retribution factor. I feel that if
you take someone elses why should you go on living
your life. I do take in the opponents factors like
attorneys and cruel punishment. But if you are
guilty then you should die and if you are poor and
cant afford a big-time lawyer, I do feel for them
but they should of thought before they killed
someone. The two men that were executed in Florida
that caught on fire and started bleeding were just
a little nitch in the execution.

But I feel that
the people being executed should feel a little bit
of pain because they caused the victims families a
lot of pain and nothing they do can bring there
family member back. If about 75% of the United
States population favor the death penalty, then it
should not be a be controversy because of the
population wants it. I just feel really strongly
that the pros for the death penalty outweigh the
cons by an over walloping amount..

Research essay sample on Constitutional Argument In Support Of Capital Punishment