Cruel & Unusual Punishment -Conversation Starter 1 - DNA Proof

Focus Questions:

1. What point do you think the artist is attempting to convey through this cartoon?

2. From 1989-2005, 14 individuals on death row have been exonerated and released as a result of DNA testing.1 How should a society determine whether death is an acceptable punishment for the worst crimes, given that there is a chance that an innocent person could be executed?

3. In many cases, DNA analysis makes it possible to be more certain about a person's guilt or innocence. Some supporters of capital punishment have argued that the long term effect of routinely using DNA evidence will be to strengthen public perception that the capital punishment system is fair. Do you agree? How important is it for people to perceive the capital punishment system as fair? Why?

4. This cartoon was originally published in Denmark, where the death penalty was abolished in 1978. Based on the cartoon, how do you think people in other countries may view the death penalty in the United States?