Capital punishment – Within the Criminal Law in many legal systems, this legal term refers to the death penalty, given by court for very serious homicides – done with extraordinary cruelty, or in cases of recidivism. Nowadays capital punishment has been banned in many developed countries already, because if there is a mistake in the conviction, it cannot be reversed. The origin of the term is the word “capital”, which literally means “main”, “most important”. Synonym is “judicial murder”.
See also http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/