Last updated on: 12/30/2019 | Author: ProCon.org

Since 1977, one year after the Supreme Court reaffirmed the constitutionality of the death penalty, more than 1,480 people have been executed, primarily by means of lethal injection. Most death penalty cases involve the execution of murderers although capital punishment can also be applied for treason, espionage, and other crimes.

Proponents of the death penalty say it is an important tool for preserving law and order, deters crime, and costs less than life imprisonment. They argue that retribution or “an eye for an eye” honors the victim, helps console grieving families, and ensures that the perpetrators of heinous crimes never have an opportunity to cause future tragedy.

Opponents of capital punishment say it has no deterrent effect on crime, wrongly gives governments the power to take human life, and perpetuates social injustices by disproportionately targeting people of color (racist) and people who cannot afford good attorneys (classist). They say lifetime jail sentences are a more severe and less expensive punishment than death.

 

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Boston Marathon Bomber’s Death Sentence Overturned
8/3/2020 -

An appeals court overturned Tsarnaev’s death sentence because the US district court did not properly vet jurors for bias. The lower court will have to hold a new trial on sentencing, though the appeals court judge emphasized that Tsarnaev will not be leaving prison.

First Federal Execution since 2003
7/14/2020 -

The Supreme Court cleared the way for the resumption of the federal death penalty on July 14, 2020.

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