Sunday, October 13, 2019

Capital Punishment Essay: Its Fair and Effective -- Argumentative Pe

Capital Punishment - It's Fair and Effective   Ã‚  Ã‚   Confronting head-on two of the most prominent objections to the death penalty is the object of this paper: Is the death penalty a miscarriage of justice? And Does it Deter Crime?    It's a miscarraige of justice. In a survey Professors Hugo Adam Bedau and Michael Radelet found that 7000 persons were executed in the United States between 1900 and 1985 and that 35 were innocent of capital crimes (1). Among the innocents they list Sacco and Vanzetti as well as Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. Although their data may be questionable, I do not doubt that, over a long enough period, miscarriages of justice will occur even in capital cases. Despite precautions, nearly all human activities, such as trucking, lighting, or construction, cost the lives of some innocent bystanders. We do not give up these activities, because the advantages, moral or material, outweigh the unintended losses (2). Analogously, for those who think the death penalty just, miscarriages of justice are offset by the moral benefits and the usefulness of doing justice. For those who think death penalty unjust even when it does not miscarry, miscarriages can hardly be decisive.    Is it a deterrent? Despite much recent work, there has been no conclusive statistical demonstration that the death penalty is a better deterrent than are alternative punishments (3). However, deterrence is less than decisive for either side. Most abolitionists acknowledge that they would continue to favor abolition even if the death penalty were shown to deter more murders than alternatives could deter (4). Abolitionists appear to value the life of a convicted murderer or, at least, his non-execution, more highly than they v... ...n, however just, of murderers. But although there is a lively discussion of the subject, not serious evidence exists to support the hypothesis that executions produce a higher murder rate. Cf. Phllips, the deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: New Evidence on an Old Controversy, 86 Am. J. Soc. 139 (1980) (arguing that murder rates drop immediately after executions of criminals). 6 H. Gross, A Theory of Criminal Justice 489 (1979) (attributing this passage to Sir James Fitzjames Stephen). 7 Weems v. United States, 217 U.S. 349 (1910) suggest that penalties be proportionate to the seriousness of the crime - a common theme in criminal law. Murder, therefore, demands more that life imprisonment. In modern times, our sensibility requires that the range of punishments be narrower than the range of crime - but not so narrow as to exclude the death penalty.   

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.