Discussions about the legality and necessity of the death penalty have always been relevant. The death sentence was one of the oldest types of punishment, but today the question of the humaneness and proportionality of such a measure has arisen. In ‘Gregg v Georgia,’ the court argued that the punishment was not cruel and unusual, therefore did not break the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. This case established the constitutional basis of the death penalty but also set the limits of its application. Defenders of the capital penalty have confirmed that it is permissible for the most serious crimes.
For example, if a person or group of people was killed with extreme cruelty or hijacking a plane, many people died. Opponents reject the possibility of such punishment by ensuring human rights and preserving human dignity (‘Excerpts from decisions by Supreme Court Justices’, 1976). They also claim that a criminal’s death has the same effect as life imprisonment, but isolation gives a person a chance to admit mistakes.
The main argument of supporters of the use of the death penalty is its deterrent effect. That is, even the worst criminals will not commit crimes for fear of being condemned to death. In my mind, such an argument is strong, but it may not deter all criminals. Serial killers who act with exceptional cruelty will neglect the measure of execution (‘Excerpts from decisions by Supreme Court Justices’, 1976). Therefore, in my opinion, the degree of intent and the scale of the crime must be taken into account when sentencing for a grave offense.
In fact, the debate has long remained unresolved because experts and society are equally divided in support of the two views. For example, in the European Union, the death penalty is prohibited under the rule that everyone must be protected by law (‘Excerpts from decisions by Supreme Court Justices’, 1976). The arguments of both parties are worthy of respect, but they should pay attention to public opinion in addition to legal rules. If the jury unanimously believes that execution is a necessary punishment, it should be applied.
Excerpts from Decisions by Supreme Court Justices on Death Penalty Cases. (1976). Editorial. The New York Times Archives, p. 6.