Home/Essays Examples/Politics/Capital Punishment Methods in the United States

Capital Punishment Methods in the United States


Capital punishment is direct killing of a person who has been convicted by the authority. Capital punishment is the execution of convicted criminal for crimes. It is also called death penalty. Almost European and Pacific area states including Canada have abolished the capital punishment. However it is continued with the United States, Asia retains the capital punishment. The counties slowly moving towards the abolition of capital punishment. On the occasion of the world day against the death penalty it is also being proposed in the 62nd session of UN General Assembly on October 10th of 2007, for a 1universal moratorium on executions.

Though the number of total executions worldwide has increased, still it becomes a crucial political issue in many European communities. The United Nations Human Rights Commission passed a resolution for supporting the worldwide moratorium on executions. The countries, which have not abolished has to restrict its use of the death penalty. It also includes juvenile offenders. But the countries such as United States, China Pakistan, Rwanda and Sudan voted against the resolution. Interestingly the death sentences in USA steadily declining from 300 to 143 in1998 and 2003 respectively.

More than half of the countries in the International community have abolished the death penalty completely. Still 78 countries retain the death penalty and even rank highest. The countries are like United States, China, Iran and Vietnam. During 2006 the total executions over the world noticed were 1,591. Out of the total executions, 91% executions belong to six countries such as China, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan and the United States. China is the top country.

Everybody has right to live. But the death penalty violates the right to life. It is cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. There is no room for capital punishment in modern criminal justice system. The capital punishment is irrevocable. If judicial system makes mistakes, innocent people will be executed when death penalty exists. Besides the capital punishment discriminatory against the poor since most of inmates belongs to the poor and due to the poorness they supposed to commit the crimes. The death penalty is not acceptable internationally.

Volunteer Death Penalty

The persons who inmates i.e. persons under death sentence but not been executed. Sometimes they will not wait till their turn come. Because death sentence is given, they immediately cannot be executed. They have to wait even for some years. During that they will have right to appeal. Some persons will not wait for such time and they opt the volunteers such as State assisted suicide or prisoner-assisted homicide. The persons may take such decision on the basis of mental or physical illness, Religious belief etc.

Capital Punishment in the United States

The death penalty influenced by European practices. The European settlers came to the new world and started and introduced the practice of capital punishment in colonial North America. Now it was recognized as United States. The first execution noticed during 1608. The death penalty cases are estimated to generate roughly $470,000 to prosecution and costs of $47,000 to $70,000 for court personnel. When it is direct appeal, the cost of appellate defense averages $100,000 more in death penalty cases. Besides the average cost of an additional $137,000 would be counted for public defense costs.

Methods of Execution

There are many methods of execution and over period of time these were changed. The methods are such as Legal injection, Decapitation, Electrocution/electric chair, hanging, gassing, strangulation, drowning, burning, crucifixion, impalement, crushing, stoning, and shooting by firing squad, disembowelment, sawing and various animal related methods. There are other methods besides lethal injection such as electric chair, gas chamber, hanging and firing squad. But 75% executions preferred lethal injection. The imposition of capital punishment involves several methods, which includes lethal injection. The method is being continued since more than century. Now the time came to examine the method in order to know whether it is unconstitutional, cruel or unusual punishment.

The conviction of killers through the lethal injection is existed in almost all states in the United States of America. Out of 37 states, 36 states are using the method for capital punishment. The Supreme Court planned to examine the issue for January 7, 2008. This is the first time, which happened more than century to examine such issue. The Supreme Court desires to examine the issue since the lethal injection violates the Eight Amendment, which involves prohibition against cruel and usual punishment.

The lawyers of the defendants made the point as the animal are put to death with single drug, whereas the humans are being given with 3 drugs stage by stage which is cruel for the capital punishment. There is a chance of that the Supreme Court may give ruling on method used for capital punishment, but it will not abolish the capital punishment. The lethal injection is inhumane since it involves three-drug cocktail process with risk of pain and suffering of the criminal.

Juveniles in the United States

Juvenile is a legal term and refers with the minor. The person who is under the age group of 15 and 18 called as juvenile. The execution of juveniles in the United States is confirmed with the international obligations. The United States ratified with U.S. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights thus reserves right to continue to impose the death penalty for crimes committed by those under the age of 18. The Supreme Court of the United States makes the order rejecting the proposal for capital punishment for juvenile offenders i.e. who is in the age group of 15 to 18. Between January 1973 to December 31, 2004, 71 persons were on death row for juvenile crimes.

The share is 2% of total death row population of 3,487 in the United States. They belong to all parts of the state of difference states. The highest share belonging to the Texas for which 29 persons out of 72 juvenile offenders. In this case the offender committed the crime at the age of 17 and was tried after 9 months he has been sentenced for death at the age of 18. During the March 2005, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty for those persons who had committed their crimes at less than 18 years of age was cruel and usual punishment and hence barred by the constitutions in case of2 Roper Vs Simmons.

At the time offense the notice age is 16 and 17 only even single case is not noticed of 15 age and the native Americans of this juveniles are only one percent i.e. one person of native American, surprisingly the victims ratio is 64 those who belonging to white race. The Supreme Court set the minimum age for death penalty eligibility at 18. Capital punishment to the juveniles is unethical and meaningless. When the capital punishment is being abolished in all corners, how far correct to give the punishment to the juveniles.


The scientific research shows that minors don’t have the same capacities as adults to control their feelings and they cannot imagine the consequences of their actions. Due to these reasons only the minors have not been given voting power and even they are not allowed to contracts. The minors will have pickle mind and they do not have concentration on anything and it is fluctuating mode. Hence the adults should be alert with the juveniles. It is the responsibility of adults but not the faults of minors. When the monkey is going, the adults do not hesitate to go back instead if they feel superiority it leads to happening of the crimes.

The child turns to minor and becomes to major. Before becoming major or adult member there is one another stage called juvenile stage. On becoming the adult member, it can be assumed that the person has some maturity, of course if mentally not retarded. With regard to the Childs minors and juveniles, those persons will not have sufficient knowledge and only they have innocence, childishness etc. The total world including United States did not recognize them as persons.

When the government did not recognize the juveniles as persons, how the government will give capital punishment. 3Where is vicarious responsibility? In the United States, or in anywhere in the world, if any damage caused by the pet dog to the people or property who are the responsible. The owner of the pet dog. Is not it? Here who are owners for the juveniles? The parents or guardians, the entire system of the government and society also. Because juveniles are influenced by everybody and everything. They cannot act themselves. If the society protected by itself, the juvenile might not have contacted with the crime.

The building are fully protected with the specific measures can anybody enter in the building without permission. When the juveniles are entering with the victimized people, they might have given more than the required freedom and they are not made any protections from their selves. Why they have given such freedom to attraction of crime by the juveniles. So it is fault of the victimized people only.

So it is the equal importance to the victim also allowing the juvenile for the victim’s place. If there is any accident with the motor vehicle owned by the government, who is responsible for that one. The government cannot escape its vicarious responsibility. Hence death penalty to the juveniles cannot be imposed; even no other penalty should be imposed. The entire American system will develop the penalty may be imposed to the parents/guardians/society/government instead to the juveniles.

The death penalty is an inappropriate penalty for individuals who have not attained full physical or emotional immaturity at the time of their actions. At present thirty-eight states and the federal government have statutes authorizing the death penalty for certain forms of homicide.. In the world, the United States accounts for the majority of known juvenile offender executions and it has more juveniles on death row compared to any other country. The United stands alone among western, democratic nations who impose the death penalty to the juveniles

Many juvenile offenders on death row suffered for inadequate judicial proceedings and effective legal representation. It is also evidenced that most of juvenile offenders who have been sentenced to death are already executed with their backgrounds such as poverty, drug abuse, and mental illness, suffer from mental illness, brain damage, physically or sexually abused. The juvenile actions are based on the background of their living area, which mostly low class areas.

The Supreme Court 4gave the decision not to give the capital punishment to the juveniles in the United States and the same thing will be observed by all the courts only till further judgment on the same issue. After sometimes, when the judgment reversed, again all other courts should follow to give capital punishment though it is not acceptable nationally and universally as giving capital punishment to juveniles leads immoral and unethical for such wrongs committed by the juveniles influenced by the society. Hence the juveniles should not be given for capital punishment.

The U.S.Supreme Court ruled on 1st March 2005 that the death penalty for juveniles violates the constitution and abolished the death penalty for juveniles. So far the Supreme Court decided the following cases. The cases belonging to death penalty.

The year of 2007 5must be remembered as year since the U.S.Supreme Court called a temporary nation wide halt to executions. It can also be remembered that the first state legislature successfully abolished capital punishment in 40 years. The death penalty has been a period of decline for many years. However, the death penalty is likely to continue for some time especially in the states like Texas since the state alone accounted for over three-fifths of the country’s executions in 2007.


  1. Proposal for moratorium on exuction in UN General assembly.
  2. Supreme court decision during 2005 with the case of Roper Vs Simmons.
  3. fifth amendment of u.s.constituion – vicarious liability.
  4. 5-4 decision of supreme court, International Herald Tribute. 2005.
  5. American Bar Association, Report of the Section of Criminal Justice, ABA policy on the juvenile death penalty.