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Should The Death Penalty Be Abolished? - Facts & Infographic

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Should the Death Penalty be Abolished

Death penalty, capital punishment, or execution is the legal process of putting a person to death as a punishment for a crime.

 

Modern History of Death Penalty

1608 - Earliest death penalty in the British American Colonies handed out for treason

1775 - All 13 American colonies use capital punishment during the American Revolution

1787 - The US Constitution allows for capital punishment

1789 - The guillotine is introduced in the French Revolution

1790 - The first person is executed under the US Federal death penalty

1846 - Michigan becomes the first US state to abolish capital punishment

1890 - The first electrocution is performed in the US

1924 - First American execution by gas chamber is carried out in Nevada

1969 - Vatican City abolished its capital punishment statute

1972- US Supreme Court declares death penalty unconstitutional; Overturns over 600 death sentences

1976 - US Supreme Court reaffirms constitutionality of death penalty

1982 - First execution by lethal injection is carried out in Texas

1996 - Last execution by hanging is carried out in the US

2012 - 111 nations vote in favor of a moratorium on capital punishment at the UN; 41 countries vote against it & 34 abstain

Some Defining State Executions

Religious Executions -

Jesus Christ 33 CE (John Pratt estimate)

Saint Catherine of Alexandria 305 CE

Joan Of Arc 1431 CE

Guru Tegh Bahadur 1675 CE

 

Executions For Terrorism & Cruelty -

Otto Adolf Eichmann 1963 CE

Timothy James “Tim” McVeigh 2001 CE

Saddam Hussein 2006 CE

Ajmal Kasab 2012 CE

 

Death Penalty Around the World

According to Amnesty International, though death penalty has been traditionally used in almost every country of the world as a form of punishment in the last few decades the trend has been towards abolishing it. As of September 2012, Of the 195 independent states that are UN members or are UN observer states, 100 countries that have abolished it, 7 countries retain it for crimes committed in exceptional circumstances, 48 countries permit its use but in practice have not used it for at least a decade, and 40 countries retain the death penalty in law and practice it.

According to reports from Amnesty International, in 2011 the world's four leading countries that practiced capital punishment were Asian nations – China, Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan.

 

Death Penalty Facts

Executions in 2011

Countries

Executions

Afghanistan

2*

Algeria

51

Bahrain

5

Bangladesh

49

Belarus

2

Botswana

1

Burkina Faso

3

China

2000*

Congo

3

Egypt

123

Gambia

13

Ghana

4

Guinea

16

Guyana

3

India

110

Indonesia

6

Iran

156

Iraq

291

Japan

10

Jordon

15

Kenya

11

Kuwait

17

Lebanon

8

Liberia

1

Malawi

2

Malaysia

108

Mali

2

Mauritania

8

Morocco/Western Sahara

5

Myanmar

33

Nigeria

72

North Korea

30*

Pakistan

313

Palestine

5

Papua New Guinea

5

Qatar

3

Saint Lucia

1

Saudi Arabia

9

Sierra Leone

2

Singapore

5

Somalia

37

South Korea

1

South Sudan

1

Sri Lanka

106

Sudan

13

Swaziland

1

Syria

1*

Taiwan

16

Thailand

40

Trinidad and Tobago

2

UAE

31

Uganda

5

USA

78

Vietnam

23

Yemen

29

Zambia

48

Zimbabwe

1

Source – Amnesty International *Estimated Numbers

According to a Huffington Post report, the US executed over 43 death row inmates in 2012 while 3,000 remain condemned to the death row in the country.

 

The 50 States

In the US, death penalty is limited under the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. It is meted out only in cases of aggravated murders committed by mentally competent adults. According to the Common Law, all American colonies practiced capital punishment for felonies prior to the Declaration of Independence.

As of 2012, apart from the US Military courts & federal courts, US States with Death Penalty are as follows.

Alabama

Kentucky

Oregon

Arizona

Louisiana

Pennsylvania

Arkansas

Mississippi

South Carolina

California

Missouri

South Dakota

Colorado

Montana

Tennessee

Delaware

Nebraska

Texas

Florida

Nevada

Utah

Georgia

New Hampshire

Virginia

Idaho

North Carolina

Washington

Indiana

Ohio

Wyoming

Kansas

Oklahoma

 

 

The most common method of execution has been lethal injection, though other forms are still practiced. In 2012, 43 inmates were executed in the US.

The following states and the District of Columbia have abolished the capital punishment.

State

Year Abolished

State

Year Abolished

Alaska

1957

New Jersey

2007

Connecticut

2012

New Mexico

2009

Hawaii

1957

New York

2007

Illinois

2011

North Dakota

1973

Iowa

1965

Rhode Island

1984

Maine

1887

Vermont

1964

Maryland

2013

West Virginia

1965

Massachusetts

1984

Wisconsin

1853

Minnesota

1911

Dist. of Columbia

1981

Michigan

1846

 

 

 

In March 2009, New Mexico voted to abolish the death penalty and in April 2012 Connecticut passed a similar vote. The repeal in both the states was, however, not retroactive. In 1979, the Supreme Court of Rhode Island ruled that the mandatory death sentence killing a fellow prisoner was unconstitutional. In 1984, the legislature, however, removed the statute. In 2004, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that a section of the state's death penalty law was unconstitutional but later in 2007 it was ruled that this would not apply to death row prisoners. The repeal is pending action with the Governor of Maryland.

 

Changing Attitudes

“Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception. The death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights. It is the premeditated and cold-blooded killing of a human being by the state in the name of justice. It violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.” - Amnesty International

Despite the growing trends towards abolition of the death penalty or capital punishment, the opinions of people in many countries are to the contrary.

A study of the Gallup polls over the decades show that though support for death penalty has declined in the US over the past decade and is at the lowest in almost 4 decades, the support is still well over majority.

Death Penalty Statistics

Year

% In Favor

% Not In Favor

% No Opinion

2012

63

32

6

2011

61

35

4

2010

64

29

6

2009

65

31

5

2008

64

30

5

2007

69

27

4

2006

67

28

5

2005

64

30

6

2004

64

31

5

2003

64

32

4

2002

70

25

5

2001

68

26

6

2000

67

28

5

1995

77

13

10

1988

79

16

5

1981

66

25

9

1975

66

26

8

1971

49

40

11

1966

42

47

11

 

Capital punishment in the United Kingdom was abolished in the 20th century. The last executions UK took place in 1964, and the death penalty was abolished in 1998. In 2004 the UK became a party to the 13th Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights and prohibited the restoration of the death penalty. In 2011, the Restore Justice campaign, headed by Paul Staines, cited opinion polls which show that over 60% of the population would like the corporal punishment reintroduced for child murderers. Despite having been abolished, the death penalty has popular support in the UK, says Staines.

 

Cost Of Death Penalty In The US

In the state of California, the costs of death penalty were assessed by Judge Arthur Alarcon and Prof. Paula Mitchell in 2011 and these were further updated in 2012. According to them the death penalty had cost the state $4 billion since 1978. This includes $1.94 billion in pre-trial and trial costs, $925 million in automatic appeals and state Habeas Corpus petitions, $775 million in federal Habeas Corpus appeals, and $1 billion in the costs of incarceration. It was further estimated that if the Governor commuted the sentences of those remaining on death row to life without parole, the state would immediately save about $170 million annually and save over $5 billion in the next 20 years.

According to a 2009 New York Times editorial, Florida spends $51 million more a year on those on a death row than those on life without parole. In North Carolina 43 people have been executed since 1976 at $2.16 million per execution.

According to a 2011 report, the average cost of defending a federal death case trial is $620,932. This figure is over 8 the cost of a federal murder case in which death penalty is not sought. According to a study, defendants whose representation cost the least, and those who received the least amount of attorney and expert time, had a much higher probability of receiving a death sentence

 

Punishment Or Crime?

Death Penalty Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

Acts as a deterrent to major offenses

Does not deter criminals, say experts

 

 

Provides closure to victims' families

Punishes murder with another murder

 

 

Ends crime recurrence risk

"Cruel and unusual" punishment; demeans value of human life

 

 

Is handed in severest of crimes

Criminals have been proved innocent after execution

 

Between 1973 and 2009 over 130 people on a death row were exonerated by fresh evidence, DNA testing and new testimonies coming to light. Critics of death penalty believe that a number of people have been proved innocent after execution. To prevent such an eventuality, death penalty should be abolished.

 

Sources –

http://www.academia.edu/1473763/Amnesty_International_and_the_Death_Penalty_Toward_Global_Abolition

http://www.amnestyusa.org/pdfs/dp_qa.pdf

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ACT50/001/2012/en/241a8301-05b4-41c0-bfd9-2fe72899cda4/act500012012en.pdf

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14402195

http://www.gallup.com/poll/1606/death-penalty.aspx

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/states-and-without-death-penalty

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/07/map-which-countries-use-the-death-penalty/241490/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment_in_the_United_States#New_concerns_post-Furman

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/18/2012-death-penalty-executions-information-center_n_2323135.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2023306/More-half-Britons-want-return-death-penalty-reveals-shock-poll.html

http://deathpenalty.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=003096

http://dawn.com/2012/12/21/record-vote-against-death-penalty-at-un/

http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/AppointmentOfCounsel/Publications/UpdateFederalDeathPenaltyCases.aspx

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/costs-death-penalty

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/28/opinion/28mon3.html?_r=0

Should The Death Penalty Be Abolished.


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