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Does The Death Penalty Violate The 8th Amendment

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The University of Texas-Pan American Essay #2 Anna Salkinder LSPI July 27, 2015 The death penalty has been a major topic of debate in the United States as well as various parts of the world for numerous years. At this time, there are thirty-one states in which the death penalty is legal. Nineteen states have completely abolished it (“States with and without The Death Penalty”). Since its initial development back in the 1600’s, the death penalty has taken a different course in the way it is utilized. In its early days, the death penalty was greatly used and implemented for several offenses. Generally, the public sought out the stern implementation of the death penalty. But contrary to this, the use of the death penalty, …show more content…

Does the death penalty violate the 8th Amendment? According to the National Constitution Center, the 8th Amendment states “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted” (“Amendment VIII”). There is no objective answer to this, because the courts never clearly stated that the death penalty is cruel and unusual. I do not agree with any part of the death penalty simply because I believe it is cruel in the sense that it strips man of his “right to life” as declared in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The death penalty has been significantly changing according to these six cases: Atkins v. Virginia (2002), Roper v. Simmons (2002), Kennedy v. Louisiana (2008), Graham v. Florida (2010), and Miller v. Alabama (2012). These six cases discuss the “evolving standards of decency”. The “evolving standards of decency” state that the implementation of the death penalty is deemed unconstitutional for certain circumstances, defendants, and crimes. When implementing this test, the courts analyze the most prevalent opinions among the different state legislatures, judges, sentencing juries, and the general public in order to determine whether the use of the death penalty is cruel and unusual. In Atkins v. Virginia (2002), the court ruled that the mentally retarded should not be tried for death penalty because they do not bear the proper guilt that even the worst adult criminal bears upon committing a crime. The mentally retarded have trouble reasoning and controlling their

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