The ultimate punishment, the death penalty, violates the 8th Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. America frequently executes, or sentences to die, the intellectually disabled, people with severe brain injury or survivors of extreme childhood trauma and abuse. Others sentenced to die are of questionable guilt. One 2014 study found that if all death-sentenced defendants remained under sentence of death indefinitely, at least 4.1% would be exonerated.
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