Within modern criminal justice, there is no more permanent and controversial punishment than capital punishment. Throughout this paper, various facets of capital punishment, as well as the criminal justice system will be discussed. To begin this research, it is important to first define capital punishment. For the purposes herein, capital punishment will be defined as the court-sanctioned killing of a criminal defendant, after that defendant has been convicted through due process of law.
While this research emphasizes the modern era of capital punishment, the process as a legally mandated one has been in place since the first written laws emerged from Hammurabi’s Code and various laws that were put forth by ancient Egyptian pharaohs (Morris, 1997). One Opinion on Capital Punishment The controversial nature of capital punishment earns it a fair amount of scrutiny and discussion on the part of researchers. It is for this reason that an opinion on capital punishment is now offered.
Because of the irreversible nature of capital punishment once it is imposed, it is essential that capital punishment only be administered in cases where the guilt of the defendant is beyond question, such as a situation where a crime is witnessed by multiple, unimpeachable individuals. This requirement, while quite fair and reasonable, in itself opens up additional issues to be discussed, not the least of which is the issue of what defendants may challenge on appeal. Defendants Challenges on Appeal
When American defendants are convicted of a crime in a court of law, there is still an opportunity for the defendant to issue a challenge to the conviction through a formal appeal. Most commonly, appeals will cite errors of law, fact or procedure as a basis for the possible overturning of a verdict (McAllister, et al, 1993). Obviously, in capital punishment cases, the use of the appellate process is extremely valuable when the guilt of an individual is in possible question, as literally, life and death hangs in the balance.
This process is aided greatly in the 21st century by technological advancements and new forensic techniques. Given all of the advancements, however, nonscientific suspect identification still has a place in modern criminal justice and is worthy of discussion. Methods of Nonscientific Suspect Identification Aside from the benefits of modern science, criminal justice can likewise still benefit today from nonscientific suspect identification, most commonly eye witness and ear witness testimony (McAllister, et al, 1993).
It is through the reliable testimony of what people see and hear that many crimes are solved to this very day. However, as this research concludes, it will be stated and explained that nonscientific suspect identification is only reliable under certain conditions, much like its high-tech counterparts. Conclusion: Most Reliable Method of Nonscientific Suspect Identification Lastly, it is possible to clarify exactly what is the most reliable method of nonscientific suspect identification.
As a matter of fact, either visual or audible witnessing of a crime can be the most reliable, within certain conditions. In either case, the reliability of the witness must be rock solid; ideally, multiple reliable witnesses would be best, as is evidenced from secondary research on the topic (McAllister, et al, 1993). In conclusion, what must be understood is, especially in capital punishment cases, testimony must be beyond question, for without solid evidence, the criminal justice system lacks the integrity it needs to protect the public from the worst members of society itself.
Bibliography McAllister, H. A. , Dale, R. H. , Bregman, N. J. , McCabe, A. , & Cotton, C. R. (1993). When Eyewitnesses Are Also Ear witnesses: Effects on Visual and Voice Identifications. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 14(2), 161-170. Morris, C. (Ed. ). (1997). Capital Punishment in the United States A Documentary History. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.