Brigham Young University Prelaw Review


Death penalty, capital punishment, Supreme Court, criminal justice, punishment, eighth amendment, cruel and unusual


Capital punishment has a strong legal precedence in the United States. Capital punishment has been a penal option for those who commit conspicuously wrong acts. For such acts, the punishment seems to be proportional to the crime. In addition to the punishment’s adherence to proportionality, capital punishment mitigates problematic outcomes.

This paper advocates, however, that capital punishment should be classified as “cruel and unusual punishment.” Such violation of the eighth amendment delegitimizes capital punishment. Consequently, The Federal Death Penalty Act of 1994 should no longer be considered a valid law because of its constitutional violation.