- The definition of capital punishment is the sentence of death for a crime.
An example of capital punishment is death by the electric chair.
The electric chair is an example of capital punishment.Licensed from iStockPhoto
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capital punishment - Cultural Definition
The infliction of the death penalty as punishment for certain crimes. (See capital offense.)
- In the United States, capital punishment has been an extremely controversial issue on legal, moral, and ethical grounds. In 1972, the Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty was not, in principle, cruel and unusual punishment (and not, therefore, unconstitutional), but that its implementation through existing state laws was unconstitutional. In 1976, the Supreme Court again ruled that the death penalty was not unconstitutional, though a mandatory death penalty for any crime was. Thirty-nine states now practice the death penalty.
The death penalty for a crime.