This article explores the controversial topic of capital punishment, with a particular focus on its longstanding application in the United States. The use of the death penalty in the US has been the subject of much criticism both domestically and internationally. The numerous concerns addressed in this article relate to the morality of the punishment, its effectiveness, the uneven application of the penalty, and procedural problems. The US Supreme Court has confirmed the constitutionality of capital punishment while striking down particular uses of the death penalty. The US is not, however, alone in executing convicted defendants. Capital punishment is still being used by other jurisdictions, some with more prevalent use than the US, such as the People's Republic of China and Singapore. However, as more nations abolish the death penalty, the question remains, why is capital punishment so widespread in the world?

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31 Melbourne University Law Review 837-872 (2007)