Cruel And Unusual Punishment Research Paper

449 Words2 Pages
The constitutionality of the death penalty is not a new debate. The issue of the Eighth Amendment’s language concerning “cruel and unusual punishment” as it relates to executions is a hot-button one. This question invokes even more emotion when discussing botched executions. In order to properly address the issue, one must understand both the definition of “cruel and unusual punishment,” and what the death penalty, and executions, entail. Cornel University Law School outlines three aspects of cruel and unusual punishment: imprisonment, beatings and torture, and conditions of confinement. No specific duration of confinement is unconstitutional, but it must be in proportion with the crime. The age of the offender is taken into consideration, and for non-homicide offenders that are juvenile, a life sentence without a chance of parole is unconstitutional. Conditions…show more content…
Three times it has ruled in favor of the state and upheld the use of the death penalty: hanging in 1879, the electric chair in 1890, and the use of a combination of lethal drugs in 2008 (Denniston). Today, lethal drugs are the most commonly used method of execution. The three-drug protocol first renders the inmate unconscious, then brings on paralysis, and finally stops their heart. In 1947, the SCOTUS ruled on botched executions, saying that the state can try to execute a condemned man for a second time after the initial, failed, attempt in Louisiana. In laymen’s terms, the court ruled that the attempt was not intentional, or “wanton infliction of pain,” and therefore did not violate the Eighth Amendment (Denniston). The lethal injection method was ruled on again by the SCOTUS in 2008 in Baze v. Rees. They determined that an isolated mishap does not violate the Eighth Amendment because the procedure does not present a substantial risk of harm and therefore does not suggest cruelty

More about Cruel And Unusual Punishment Research Paper

Open Document