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Trends in Capital Punishment

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One of the most controversial and current issues in criminal justice is capital punishment.

As of November, 2012, thirty-three states and the Federal government allow the use of the death penalty. Since 2007, four states have abolished the death penalty, and the rate of executions in the states that allow it has slowed dramatically. Several states have bills pending that have the potential to end or limit the use of capital punishment in those states.

Prepare a 3 Page report in a Microsoft Word document on the death penalty that covers the following points:

Illinois is one of the states that recently abolished the death penalty. Prior to making the change in the law, the governor had simply stopped signing death warrants. For what reason did the governor decide to stop approving executions? Was his reason valid? Explain your reasoning.
Describe the "Innocence Project," including its goals and procedures. Is this group effective?
Consider the recent Supreme Court cases of Roper v. Simmons and Atkins v. Virginia. Do these decisions indicate a trend? What can you surmise about future challenges to the death penalty, based on the current Court's recent decisions?
Last, summarize the case of Stanley "Tookie" Williams:

What were his crimes?
Why his execution was considered controversial?
After analyzing the case, indicate whether you support the decision to execute Williams and explain your reasoning.

Support your responses with examples.

Cite any sources in APA format.

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Solution Preview

Illinois is one of the states that recently abolished the death penalty. Prior to making the change in the law, the governor had simply stopped signing death warrants. For what reason did the governor decide to stop approving executions? Was his reason valid? Explain your reasoning.

The governor had a very valid reason to end his state's use of the death penalty as he relied upon cases that involved overturned death row convictions in the state based upon new DNA evidence. There were many of these cases, which caused the governor to stop signing death warrants and essentially issue a de-facto moratorium against the use of the death penalty in the state of Illinois. There was sufficient evidence that an innocent person may have been executed based upon the high volume of overturned death penalty cases.

Describe the "Innocence Project," including its goals and procedures. Is this group effective?

The Innocence Project is a group of legal professionals who save innocent men and women from unjust and illegal incarceration. The group of legal professionals as well as law students analyze cases wherein they believe that a miscarriage of justice has occurred and this can be proven in court. The objective is to free and release innocent ...

Solution Summary

The trends in capital punishment current issues are determined. The use of the death penalty is determined.

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See Also This Related BrainMass Solution

Death Penalty Trends

Over the last 10 years the number of new death sentences and executions has steadily decreased. Berry (2010) suggests that there are two reasons for the decline. First of all, there is an ever increasing number of the discovery of innocent people on death row. Through the use of DNA evidence, during the past decade several people who were on death row were exonerated. A second reason for the decline of the use of the death penalty has been the use of alternative sentencing; life without parole.

Given the rise in these two phenomena, do you think that the death penalty is on its way to extinction?

When its comes to offenders that sells drugs are getting more time in jail, then someone who murders someone else. Why do you think that is happening?

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