capital punishment

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Courts / Corrections

Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is a legal process in the American criminal justice system that allows the state to execute a person as punishment for certain crimes considered the most heinous and deserving of the ultimate penalty.

Capital punishment is typically reserved for crimes such as murder, treason, and espionage, although the specific crimes that can result in the death penalty vary by state.

The process of capital punishment involves a trial where the defendant is found guilty of a capital crime and sentenced to death. The defendant can appeal the sentence, and higher courts may review the case.

If the sentence is upheld, the defendant is usually given a date for execution, which is typically carried out by lethal injection. Some states allow for other methods of execution, such as electrocution or firing squad.

Capital punishment is a controversial issue in the United States, with some arguing that it is a necessary and just punishment for certain crimes. In contrast, others argue that it is inhumane, unconstitutional, and can result in the execution of innocent people.

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Last Modified: 03/10/2023


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