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Word Count: 615
From 1967 until 1972 the United States Supreme Court debated on whether or not capital punishment is constitutional On June 29 1972 the US Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty is unconstitutional because in some cases it can go against the Eighth Amendment The Eighth Amendment protects citizens from cruel and unusual punishment For nine years from 1967 until 1976 capital punishment was in a state of national moratorium This means the states stopped all executions In July of 1976 the Court upheld the death penalty as a reasonable punishment for some crimes Presently the death penalty is legal in all but 12 states From January 1977 through April 2001 710 executions were carried out in the United States 545 were by lethal injection 149 by electrocution 11 by gas chamber three by hanging and two by firing squads Although more than 105 nations worldwide have abolished the death penalty the United States along with countries notorious for abusing human rights are major advocators and users of capital punishment Of the countries that still support the death penalty only five use lethal injection seventy-three use firing squads 58 hang condemned criminals six stone them to death and three still use beheading In this century at least 400 people have been convicted of capital crimes they did not commit Of those 400 23 were executed The United States has proven that is it unable to prevent accidental executions of innocent citizens The amount of innocent lives lost may seem minuscule but what if one of those lives was that of your own child Or maybe that of a friend or another loved one What if it was your own life that was wrongfully sentenced to die Every year about 22000 homicides are committed Of those 22000 killings only an average of 300 people are sentenced to death each year Politics quality of legal representation and the jurisdiction where the crime was committed
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