7 Facts About the Death Penalty in the United States

Whether you are a supporter or a detractor of the death penalty, there are several facts that you should know about the system in the US. Some of these facts are a bit shocking. For instance, the death penalty is based on death row information and is not exclusive to those who commit a violent crime. It is also used as an incentive to teach people to stay away from crime. It has also been used to deter other people who commit crimes, including child sexual abuse.

Whether Capital Punishment Can Be Administered In A Manner Consistent With Justice

Throughout the world, governments have used the death penalty to punish violent criminals. However, many countries have also eliminated capital punishment, especially in the last third of the 20th century. These countries have seen crime decrease as a result. The United States has had a long history of utilizing the death penalty. However, the decision is often based on flawed information, and there is no evidence that it reduces crime. The death penalty does not stop crime and extends suffering to the family of the person killed. When the death penalty is applied, it does not guarantee a fair trial. Prosecutor remarks and instructions often distort the jury. The decision to use the death penalty must be based on the facts and law of the case. The Supreme Court has held that the death penalty is not cruel punishment. However, many governments have promoted the death penalty to reduce crime without evidence. This has been demonstrated to be false. In addition to the risk of executing innocent people, the death penalty does not prevent crime. The threat of a death sentence is not enough to deter suicide bombers. It does not prevent other violent offenders from committing crimes. 

Minority Defendants Are Not Subjected To Bias

Racial bias is still an issue in the American criminal justice system despite reforms to capital sentencing. Black defendants are sentenced to death at a higher rate than non-black defendants. They also have a lower chance of getting life imprisonment and are more likely to be sent to prison than other races. Researchers have found that racial bias exists in capital sentencing but is not due to intentional discrimination against blacks. Instead, it is an implicit bias. It is linked to the perception that blacks are more likely to inflict bodily violence, and it affects the use of force by police. It also affects the prescribing of pain medication by clinicians.

A 1990 General Accounting Office (GAO) report cited several studies of racial discrimination in death penalty sentencing. However, the study left many questions unanswered. Although some philosophers do not find capital punishment racist, others find it morally repugnant. This is because the application of capital punishment is not based on fairness. Instead, it is based on an unjustifiable risk to legal equality.

Statutory Aggravating Factors

Several states have statutory aggravating factors that provide grounds for a high sentence in capital cases. These factors include murders involving multiple victims, murders committed in the course of another crime, and murders committed for monetary gain. Some states have restructured their sentencing procedures after the Supreme Court ruled in Furman v. Georgia (1972). These enhancements include the Three Strikes Laws, which require tough sentences for repeat offenders. The Three Strikes Laws require a higher standard of proof in some instances.

The Supreme Court may overturn a death sentence if the record shows that the defendant received an arbitrary penalty. The Court also may consider whether the penalty is excessive.

A defendant’s criminal history is another factor that can affect the penalty. During the “tough on crime” era in the 1980s and 1990s, enhancements such as the Three Strikes Laws and the statutory smuggling and possession of cocaine laws mandated very harsh sentences for repeat offenders. The jury must weigh aggravating and mitigating factors in deciding which ones are more important. The prosecution presents evidence supporting aggravating factors, and the defense presents evidence supporting mitigating factors. The government must show that an aggravating factor is substantial. Most jurisdictions require prosecutors to prove these factors by a preponderance of the evidence.

Executions In 20 Countries

Despite the controversy over the death penalty in the United States, it continues to be practiced in 38 states and the federal government. Several factors affect the application of the death penalty. These include the jurisdiction of the trial, the ability of jurors, and the attitudes of prosecutors and defense attorneys. The death penalty can be abolished through legislation or court rulings. In recent years, several states have abolished the death penalty. The most recent state to do so was New York. Other states that have abolished the death penalty include Connecticut, New Mexico, Virginia, and Washington.

The death penalty is also abolished in the District of Columbia. In addition, ten states, including Alaska, have no death penalty laws. In fact, the death penalty is administered differently in each state. The process has four key steps: Sentencing, Direct Review, State Collateral Review, and Federal Habeas Corpus. In most cases, a person’s sentence is commuted. In addition, the average time between sentencing and execution has increased substantially in the past decades. Also, the US Supreme Court has declared the death penalty cruel and unusual punishment. However, many states have rewritten their laws to satisfy the Supreme Court’s objections to the arbitrary imposition of death sentences.


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