Death Penalty


This question is looking for your views on whether capital punishment is "cruel and unusual " under the 8th Amendment. However you answer the above question would be similar to your response to these statements:

How do you decide between "Support" and "Strongly Support" when you agree with both the descriptions above? (Or between "Oppose" and "Strongly Oppose"). The strong positions are generally based on matters of PRINCIPLES where the regular support and oppose positions are based on PRACTICAL matters. If you answer "No Opinion," this question is not counted in the VoteMatch answers for any candidate. If you give a general answer of Support vs. Oppose, VoteMatch can more accurately match a candidate with your stand. Don't worry so much about getting the strength of your answer exactly refined, or to think too hard about the exact wording of the question -- like candidates!


The death penalty is currently implemented in 34 states. It was re-legalized by a Supreme Court decision in 1977. Since then, 1,278 people have been executed. About 3,250 inmates remain on 'Death Row.' Texas is by far the national leader in executions--it has executed 477 people as of Jan. 2012, 37% of the national total. (Virginia is a very distant second with 109).

Much of the current controversy about the death penalty focuses on the circumstances where it should be applied, and on its unequal application among racial and socioeconomic classes. About 52% of death row inmates are Black or other minority, versus 17% in the general population. Over 98% of death row inmates are male.

Hate Crimes

Congress defines ‘Hate Crimes’ as a crime in which the defendant intentionally selects a victim because of the actual or perceived race, color, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability or sexual orientation of that person. Hate Crimes are covered primarily as racial or anti-gay issues under Civil Rights.

Amendments V and VIII to the US Constitution

V. No person shall... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.... (1791)
VIII. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. (1791)

Related issues:
Gun Control
Civil Rights


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