Capital punishment


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History of the death penalty and a debate on whether the death penalty should be abolished.

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Capital punishment

  1. 1. Capital punishment and penal law
  2. 2. Why Does the State Punish ? WHY?
  4. 4. Genesis… • In the 18th Century BC, the Code of King Hammurabi of Babylon. (murder was not one of them) • The first death sentence historically recorded occurred in 16th Century BC Egypt. • In the 14th Century BC, the Hittite Code also prescribed the death penalty
  5. 5. 7th Century BC… Draconian Code of Athens • Athenian lawgiver whose harsh legal code punished both trivial and serious crimes in Athens with death. • Origin of the word DRACONIAN laws. • Laws originally meant for ‘hoplites’.
  6. 6. 5th Century BC… • Roman Law of the Twelve Tablets codified the death penalty. • Death penalty was mainly reserved for slaves and POWs. • Common modes of capital punishment:– Beheading – Scourging – Crucifixion • The Roman ruling class monetised the practice of capital punishment by making it a public spectacle…
  7. 7. 3rd Century AD… • Roman empire replaced by Holy Roman Empire. • Ruled by Constantine. • Abolishment of crucifixion. • Laws became lenient. • Islam was born. • The Shariat law • Beheading and stoning.
  8. 8. The Mongols • Death penalty reserved mainly for treason. • Quartering was the preferred mode of execution.
  9. 9. Dark Ages… • The Christian Church ruled whole of Europe. • The Church invented innovative ways of capital punishment. • Burning at the stake. • Death penalty was given mainly for heresy.
  10. 10. Colonial Era… • Europe and North America were the most powerful regions in the world. • Modern laws . • Hanging was main mode of execution. • Crushing by elephant and beheading.
  11. 11. French Revolution • Guillotine was widely used in France as a quick and painless way to behead a person. • King Louis XVI was one of the famous personalities to be killed by the guillotine. • The last public execution by guillotine was in 1931.
  12. 12. The Electric Chair • The chair was first adopted in 1889 and the first execution took place in 1890 in New York. • The prisoner is strapped to the chair with metal straps in front of an audience and a wet sponge is placed on his head to aid conductivity. • In several instances, the subjects were killed only after being subjected to multiple electric shocks.
  13. 13. The Firing Squad • Considered by many to be the most honorable method of execution, which is why it is specifically never used on war criminals. • The method is often the supreme punishment or disciplinary means employed for crimes such as treason, desertion, or mutiny. • If the condemned does not die, he is given a Coup de Grace or ‘Blow of Mercy’
  14. 14. Stoning • Arguably the world’s oldest form of execution. • It is an authorized form of execution in many middle eastern and Sub-Saharan countries. • It is primarily enforced by Islamic fundamentalist Sharia law. • The stones must not be large enough to cause a quick death but also not small enough to inflict little pain. • Stoning continues to face strong opposition for its barbaric nature.
  15. 15. The Gas Chamber • The Gas Chamber were first used in the 1920’s as a method of execution in the USA. • A gas chamber is an apparatus for executing people by placing them in a sealed chamber where poisonous or asphyxiant gas is introduced. • By the 1980s, reports of suffering during gas chamber executions had led to controversy over the use of this method. • By the late 20th century, most states had switched to methods considered to be more humane, such as lethal injection.
  16. 16. Lethal Injection • It is the most common form of execution in the United States of America today. • Drugs are injected manually by the executioner and not by machine to safeguard against mechanical failure. • The executioner injects three drugs in sequence: – 5g Pentothol which is intended to induce a coma – 100mg Pancuronim bromide which causes paralysis – 100mEq Potassium chloride which causes Cardiac Arrest • The Lethal Injection is still not completely fail-safe.
  17. 17. United Nations Moratorium on The Death Penalty • It calls on States that maintain the death penalty to establish a moratorium on the use of the death penalty. • Resolution passed in 2010 with 109 for and 41 against. • Draft resolution was passed to abolish the death penalty; India was among 39 countries that voted against the death penalty.
  18. 18. The Way Forward • Norway’s $280 million Halden Prison – Televisions, refrigerators, desi gner furniture – Aims to teach convicts how to live like normal human beings • Norway has the 10th lowest murder rate in the world. • The benefits of reform exemplified in the Tihar Jail Factory.
  19. 19. To Kill or not to kill That is the question
  20. 20. Some funny last words. How about this for a headline for tomorrow's paper? French fries. Executed in electric chair in Oklahoma. ~~ James French, d. 1966 I did not get my Spaghetti-O's, I got spaghetti. I want the press to know this. Executed by injection, Oklahoma. ~~ Thomas J. Grasso, d. March 20, 1995