Capital Punishment Essay

1546 words - 6 pages

Capital punishment is also known as death penalty and it is the execution of an individual in punishment of a crime. The word "capital" comes from Latin caput meaning head. Therefore the meaning of capital punishment, which can translate to decapitation.

Decapitation was the preferred way of execution for long time. Other common ways of execution in Old America were hangings, burning, pressing, breaking on wheels and firing squads. Now a day lethal injection and electrocution are the choices for execution.

The question is, when is this individual under 18 liable for his/her actions? Are kids under 18 considered full-grown adults? I think not. On this essay I will list the facts that establish
juveniles and kids as underdeveloped adults. Based on this condition, we as a society should not hold them up to the standards of adults. Yes they can still be reprimanded and punished for their crimes, but not executed.

The American Society claims that our children have a very special place in life. Are we not, then supposed to defend them and make sure that their place is maintained? The Juvenile Justice System is responsible for protecting children. The fundamentals from which this system operates is to keep these children from harm either from themselves or others. For about a century the Court System has attempted to protect juveniles and kids to their entitled special rights and immunities. Some of these special privileges include protection from publicity, no confinement with adults, protection against the loss of civil rights, or disqualification of public employment. These rights exist to protect children from society and to give them an opportunity of rehabilitation.

Historically there were juvenile institutions as early as 1825. The New York House of Refugee is an example of them. Then in 1899 the first Juvenile Court was created in Chicago. Children that were convicted had a sentence less severe than adults.

There was emphasis on the "why" issue, instead of just disregarding kids as a menace to the public. The United States Supreme Court Decision In re Gault in 1967 set the new era. This time period was labeled the era of Socialize Juvenile Justice System. On this period the emphasis was on early identification, diagnosis, prescription of treatment, implementation of therapy and cure or rehabilitation under supervision (Mello).

As stated by Victor L. Streib "Whether the child deserves to be saved by the state is no more question for a jury than whether the father, if able to save it, ought to save it."

In re Winship in 1970 regarding juveniles the U.S. Supreme court held that proof beyond reasonable doubt was among the essentials in court preceding. Then in McKeiver v. Penssylvania the court decided that trial by jury in the Juvenile justice System's adjudicatory hearing was not a constitutional requirement. On one more case Breed v. Jones in 1975, the court held that a juvenile couldn't be...

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