Death penalty has always been a subject for hot debates and arguments among experts considering different aspects of the capital punishment. However death penalty is authorized by 36 states of the Unites States such as Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming and also by the US government and the military as well (Death Penalty Information Center, 2010). Capital punishment is given against crimes such as homicide, an offensive action in which a person kills some one else and some other non homicide related crimes which include spy work, treason and trafficking of drugs.
However it is essential to prove the guiltiness of the accused before imposing the punishment and therefore the bifurcated trial process which separates the criminal examination in to two different segments such as the confirmation of the crime and the imposition of the punishment helps the court to safeguard while taking such an important decision (Delfino & Day, 2009, P. 2). Jury considers only the necessary evidences to confirm the guiltiness of the accused in the first phase and additional information are verified only after making the conformation so as to impose appropriate punishment and therefore the review of all the available information helps the jury to keep away from unfair prejudice during the sentencing process (Holden, 1994, P. 77).
Appeal process in the case of a death penalty is similar to that of any other criminal case, with three exceptions. In the case of capital punishment the jury selection is made on the basis of a process called as ‘individual voir dire’ in which prospective jurors are questioned individually (Anderson, 2005, p. 53). An appeal is automatic in the case of death penalty and such an appeal may bring down the capital punishment to a life imprisonment as these two are the possible punishments in a capital murder case.
Anderson, K. (2005). Crime in Texas: your complete guide to the criminal justice system. 2nd revised ed: University of Texas Press.
Death Penalty Information Center (2010). “States With and Without the Death Penalty”. Retrieved 11 April 2011 from Death Penalty Information Center: http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/states-and-without-death-penalty
Delfino, M & Day, M.E. (2009). Death Penalty USA: 2001 – 2002. MoBeta Publishing.
Holden, Matthew. (1994). The challenge to racial stratification. Transaction Publishers.