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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 49981 Find in a Library
Title: EXECUTIONS AND INDIGNITIES - AN EIGHT AMENDMENT ASSESSMENT OF METHODS OF INFLICTING CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
Journal: OHIO STATE LAW JOURNAL  Volume:39  Issue:1  Dated:(1978)  Pages:96-130
Author(s): M R GARDNER
Corporate Author: Ohio State University
College of Law
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 35
Sponsoring Agency: Ohio State University
Columbus, OH 43210
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE ADMINISTRATION OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT IS ASSESSED IN LIGHT OF THE CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT CLAUSE OF THE EIGHTH AMENDMENT.
Abstract: THE U.S. SUPREME COURT HAS HELD THAT CAPITAL PUNISHMENT AS A LEGISLATIVE RESPONSE TO CRIME IS NOT NECESSARILY CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT UNDER THE EIGHTH AMENDMENT. BECAUSE THE COURT HAS NEVER DIRECTLY CONFRONTED THE ISSUE OF CRUELTY ASSOCIATED WITH VARIOUS METHODS OF IMPOSING CAPITAL PUNISHMENT, HOWEVER, PRONOUNCEMENTS OF THE COURT THAT HAVE SANCTIONED A PARTICULAR MEANS OF CAUSING DEATH ARE CHARACTERIZED AS EITHER DICTA OR HIGHLY SUSPECT LAW, GIVEN SUBSEQUENT DOCTRINAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT CLAUSE AND ADVANCES IN MEDICAL SCIENCE. THE FOCUS OF THE ARTICLE IS ON WHETHER VARIOUS METHODS OF EXECUTION ARE CONSTITUTIONAL IF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT IS TO BE EMPLOYED. U.S. SUPREME COURT AND OTHER COURT DECISIONS ON THE EIGHTH AMENDMENT AS A MEASURE OF METHODS OF EXECUTION ARE CITED, AS WELL AS CASES THAT CLARIFY THE CONCEPT OF HUMAN DIGNITY. PUNISHMENT VIOLATES THE EIGHTH AMENDMENT WHEN IT IS UNNECESSARILY CRUEL. THE CRITIQUE OF THE EIGHTH AMENDMENT STRONGLY INDICATES THAT CONSTITUTIONAL REVIEW OF MODES OF EXECUTION WOULD BENEFIT FROM A COMPARISON OF EXISTING METHODS WITH KNOWN ALTERNATIVES. SUCH METHODS/ALTERNATIVES INCLUDE SUICIDE, THE LETHAL GAS MASK, DETERRENCE, RETRIBUTION, HANGING, SHOOTING, ELECTROCUTION, THE GAS CHAMBER, AND LETHAL INJECTION. CAPITAL PUNISHMENT IS NOT SUPPORTED OR REJECTED, BUT CONCEPTS OF DIGNITY AND HUMANITARIANISM ARE EMPHASIZED. (DP)
Index Term(s): Capital punishment; Cruel and unusual punishment; Right to Due Process
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=49981

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