Capital punishment, execution, or death sentence is the killing of an individual by legal procedure as a penalty for a crime. The offences that can lead to a death sentence are known as capital offences. Capital punishment in the past has been exercised in almost every society, though presently only fifty eight states keenly exercised it, with ninety five nations stopping it.
The rest of the countries have not exercised capital punishment for the past ten years or they only permit in exceptional situations such as time of war. Capital punishment is a matter of dynamic controversy in different nations and states, and positions can differ within a particular political principles or cultural region.
Capital punishment in California
Capital punishment is a judicial form of sentence in California. The first confirmed sentence in the region that is currently California was on eleventh April 1978 when four American national were shot in the county of San Diego for plan to commit murder. The sentence was among the first seven hundred and nine sentences before the supreme court of California found the death sentence to violate the constitution of the state, and also it violated the constitution of United States.
Since 1976, the state has executed thirteen individuals. Currently there are about six hundred and ninety individuals, including fifteen women, on California death row. Four techniques have been employed historically for executions. Before California was acknowledged into the Union, executions were done by firing squad. In 1849, hanging was implemented as an alternative method.
In February 14, 1872 the penal code was tailored to state that hangings were to happen within the boundaries of the county prison. The only individuals that were permitted to be around were the county sheriff, a physician, the county district attorney, who would choose not less than twelve reputable nationals. At most two gospel ministers and at most five individuals chosen by the condemned could also be around (McCafferty A. J. 2009).
In 1937 California implemented the gas chamber as its only execution method. The only people in the state that were executed in the gas chamber of San Quentin were Albert Kessell and Cannon Robert on second December 1938. By 1967, one hundred and ninety four individuals were killed by lethal gas, four women included. Aaron Mitchell was the last individual to be executed on twelve April 1967.
In 1972, the California court ruled that the latest death sentence laws were not in line with the constitution and directed the sentencing of one hundred and seven on death penalty in the country. Following the ruling, constitution of California was modified quickly to restore capital punishment. The law was also modified to create the death sentence compulsory for some crimes comprising first degree murder in particular instances, kidnapping that resulted to death, train wrecking in which an individual dies, treason, and assault by a life inmate if the casualty dies within a year (Hodgkinson P.e.tal.2004).
In 1977, the laws in California were modified. Life imprisonment minus likelihood of parole was included as a punishment for capital crimes. A later change to the law was in 1978 after passing preposition seven. This provided usual appeal to the California Supreme Court, who would affirm directly or turn around the verdict and conviction minus going through a transitional appeal to the Appeal courts of California (Hodgkinson P.e.tal.2004).
In 1993, lethal injection was introduced as an alternative for individuals sentenced to death. David Mason preferred to die of lethal injection, since he wanted to suffer. In 1994 lethal injection was changed to be a default method. The first individual to be executed using these latest laws was Bonon William.
In February 2006, the district court judge Jeremy D.Fogel stopped the killing of convicted murderer because of criticisms about the lethal injection administration in the gas chamber. If the lethal injection process of the three-drug were administered wrongly, it could result to misery for the condemned, potentially making up cruel and unusual punishment (McCafferty A. J. 2009).
According to McCafferty (2009) the issue came up from an order made by the ninth circuit court of appeals of the United States which held that punishment by execution could be done only by a medical technician who is authorized legally to administer four medications. This case resulted to capital punishment de facto moratorium in California as the nation was not able to get the services of a medical professional that is licensed to do the execution.
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Hodgkinson (2004) argues that in 2008, officers of law and victim’s families who support the death sentence rallied at San Quentin Prison gate to support a latest journal that features opinions in favor of capital punishment. Many other families of victims gave evidence to the Commission on the reasonable justice administration in opposition to death penalty, they explained that though they have experienced big losses, they didn’t see revenge as morally acceptable, and that capital punishment high cost was stopping the working out of cold cases.
In September 29, 2010 Albert Greenwood Brown was executed following the ruling by a riverside county judge. The execution was scheduled after the court of California lifted a ban against death sentence. Brown was the first inmate to be executed in newly constructed facility at the state prison of San Quentin. The visitor center of the prison was rehabilitated in an $853,000 renovation. This is four times bigger than the former old gas chamber that resulted to moratorium (Hodgkinson P.e.tal.2004).
Judge Fogel, whose ruling previously had stopped execution in California, told Brian to choose execution method, but Brian denied. If the prison refuses to decide, he would default to the three-drug procedure. Fogel was ordered to repeat the case because the law of California specified that the prisoner should only select between lethal injection and gas chamber, not the drugs themselves (McCafferty A. J. 2009).
According to Hodgkinson (2004) In California inmates sentenced to death are permitted to choose lethal injection or asphyxiation. In the California panel code, the punishment of the prisoner shall be imposed by the lethal gas administration or by an intravenous insertion of substances in a lethal amount enough to cause death.
According to California law, if the inmate does not decide on the method in ten days after the execution warrant is issued, then the inmate will be subjected to lethal injection. As in other states, in California individuals who are below the age of 18 at the commission time of the capital crime are constitutionally excluded from being executed.
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The California states, capital punishment has proved to be a real tool of criminal justice. That is, capital punishment can easily be used to control crimes. Through the increase support of capital punishment in California, the number of capital offences has declined. Therefore there is need for other states to join California in fight in favor of capital punishment.