The History of the Death Penalty

        In 1846, Michigan became the first English-speaking Jurisdiction in the work to abolish capital punishment. The law went in effect on March 1, 1847. A man by the name of Patrick Fitzpatrick who hanged in Sandwish, Ontario. In 1840 the citizens of Michigan who were familiar with the case were shocked when a man by the name of Maurice Sellers confessed on his death tot he crime. This play a role in strengthening the sentiment to abolished the death penalty in 1852. The influential factors was the trail of John and William Gordon (1844). They were accused of killing Amaza Sprague brother of United States senator. Even though the evidence against them was said to be "flimsy and circumstantial." John was found guilty and was hang in 1845. William was acquitted. Many believed that John and William were victims of anti-Irish prejudice.

        There was no conclusive proof of John innocence, but doubts about his guilt helped strengthen the argument for abolition. In Maine the recognition of the movement to abolish the death penalty was influenced by possibility of erroneous convictions. "Macnamara (1969) quotes Edmund Muskie, governor at that time as stating in 1968, that the hanging of an innocent man had induced Maine to abolish the death penalty." Statement by Ronald E. Hampton representing National Black Police Association. September 19, 1989, NBPA is a nation wide organization trying to establish the promotion of Justice, fairness and effective law enforcement, believes that the death penalty is un-American, unjust, and unconstitutional. And the death penalty make irrevocable any possible miscarriage of justice. It has been documented that at least 25 Americans who were later found innocent have been executed in this country. The death penalty has killed an innocent person in the United States once every year since 1910.