Capital Punishment or the Death Penalty is something that over the years has been heavily debated in America. Plenty of people from all sides of the political and social spectrums have made their cases for it and against. If you wanted a representation how complicated the issue is, take a look at a map of America and where the Death Penalty is allowed. Currently only 27 of America's 50 states allow the death penalty; that's barely more than a 50/50 split.

Recently though, one state made waves recently with its recent use of capital punishment on death row inmate and the news came via the new method used to carry out the execution.

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Alabama New Form of Capital Punishment

In recent days, the state of Alabama has made waves in regards to a recent execution. 58-year old, Kenneth Eugene Smith was executed on January 25, 2024 via the usage of pure nitrogen gas. It marked the first time since 1982 when lethal injection was introduced that a new method for execution was used in the United States.

medications or drugs?

According to the Associated Press and many other reports, Kenneth Eugene Smith was convicted in the murder-for-hire killing of 45-year old Elizabeth Sennett. The state of Alabama had previously attempted to have Smith's execution carried out back in 2022 but it was later called off due technical issues with an IV line.

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Individuals both for and against the death penalty made their voices and opinions known in the lead-up to the execution. Those on the pro side arguing that the nitrogen gas method is "humane" while critics called it a "cruel experiment". A last minute attempt was made by Smith's representation to the U.S Supreme Court to have the execution blocked but it was denied.

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In Smith's execution, an oxygen mask was placed over his face after he had been secured to a gurney in restraints. According to reports, the entire process took an approximate 22 minutes. Smith's oxygen was replaced with nitrogen gas, which lead to oxygen deprivation and then his death. At 8:25 pm, Kenneth Eugene Smith was pronounced dead.

New York State and the Death Penalty

For those unaware, the state of New York holds an immense amount of history in regards to the death penalty. New York was actually the first state that made use of the electric chair.

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The first instance of the electric chair being used according to History, came back in 1890 at Auburn Prison right here in New York. A man by the name of William Kemmler was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of his lover Matilda Ziegler. Electrocution was considered to be a humane in comparison to condemning the guilty to hang.

Hanging of course is not instantaneous like it is portrayed in television and movies; in many cases people who were hanged would have their necks broken and they would dangle for however long until they choked to death.

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Over the decades, plenty more would happen throughout both New York and the rest of America in regards to the death penalty. The arguable most famous execution in New York State happened on June 19, 1953 when both Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed following their conviction of espionage.

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Decades later the U.S. Supreme Court made two monumental rulings on the death penalty. The first came in 1972, when the Court ruling on Furman v. Georgia stopped all existing death penalty procedures in America. Then in 1976 the Supreme Court made another ruling in the case of Gregg v. Georgia that states could resume capital punishment under revised criminal statutes but federally the death penalty would not be reinstated until 1988.

New York is currently one of the states that does not allow the death penalty. The New York State Court of Appeals ruled the states death penalty was "unconstitutional" back in 2004 after ruling on People v. Lavalle.

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