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Capital Punishment A Just Means to Reducing the Loss of Innocent Lives.

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Presentation on theme: "Capital Punishment A Just Means to Reducing the Loss of Innocent Lives."— Presentation transcript:

1 Capital Punishment A Just Means to Reducing the Loss of Innocent Lives

2 Famous Executions On April 19 th, a bomb was set off outside of the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people. In 1979, just before an 8 year old girl was raped and killed by a complete stranger, she told her murderer over and over, “Jesus loves you.” In 1989, a man confessed to killing 23 women. Prosecutors have reason to suspect that there were at up to 100 victims.

3 Death Penalty: Fair and Just? Justice Implies that we are receiving what we deserve How Retributivists Justify Capital Punishment¹ Guilt is a necessary condition for judicial punishment Guilt is a sufficient condition for judicial punishment Correct amount of punishment imposed upon the morally guilty offender What kind and what degree of punishment does public justice take as its principle and norm?.. Any underserved evil which you do to someone else among the people is an evil done to yourself. If you rob him, you rob yourself; if you slander him, you slander yourself; if you strike him, you strike yourself; and if you kill him, you kill yourself. -Immanuel Kant 1. Pojman, 9

4 Justice and Society Negative Liberty People are free to the extent in which no one interferes with their freedom¹ As free moral agents, people are not forced to kill others. They must be responsible for the actions. Murderers interfere with the right to life, liberty and property of others. Retributive system ensures fair play² When someone breaks a law, they receive an unfair advantage Unfair advantages must be addressed by society The offender of the law must be punished for breaking a law set up by society 1.Gaus 2.Pojman, 10

5 Deterrence Common sense and cost- and-benefit analysis In a study by Isaac Ehrlich, he concluded that an additional execution per year may prevent 7 or 8 fewer homicides¹ A paper done by David P. Phillips showed that up to 2 weeks after highly publicized executions are performed, homicide rates drop by 35%² 1.Haag, 144 2.American Journal of Sociology

6 Deterrence continued Criminals are less likely to carry weapons if they perceive the death penalty as a credible threat¹ At the least, the death penalty may deter previous felons Over 40% of persons on death row in 1992 had been on probation or parole at the time they murdered² 1 in 12 of persons on death row had a previous murder conviction³ 1.Lewis 2.Sowell and Dilulio Jr., 107 3.Bureau of Justice Statistics

7 Death penalty vs. other punishments on deterrence Life without parole Rehabilitation 91% of all prisoners on death row say they prefer life on parole to death¹ Most studies show rehabilitation is ineffective. It also does not deter, since there is no real cost to the offender² 1.Haag, 68 2.Haag, 54

8 Not That Innocent… Greatest objection to the death penalty is that innocent persons are executed. A Badea-Radelet study claimed that 416 persons sentenced to death were innocent¹ 200 of them were charged with capital crimes; the rest were overturned. 139 of 200 cases were actually received a death sentence. 23 of the deaths were carried out Evidence: “unshaken convictions” of defense attorneys, newspaper rumors, and defendants’ briefs. 57% of Americans said they would favor the death penalty even if one out of every 100 executed prisoner was innocent.² 1.Markman, 84-86 2.Gallup Poll, 2004

9 Discrimination and the Death Penalty More than half of murderers sent to death row were white but 48% of criminals charged with murder are black More black-on-white murderers sentenced to death¹ More likely to occur between people that do not know one another Tend to be more heinous crimes, like kidnapping and rape Is an equal unjust system better than an unequal just system? 1. Rothman, 158

10 Sanctity of Human Life Society tends to give more worth to morally conscience individuals It is not human life only, not human life as such, that ought to be sacred to us, but human feelings. The human capacity of suffering is what we should cause to be respected, not the mere capacity of existing. – John Stewart Mill

11 How to Implement the Death Penalty Nitrogen asphyxiation¹ No suffering by the victim Cheap and universal medium Organ’s suitable for donation Should not be public spectacle Narrower statutes for death penalty to reduce costs and chances of executing an innocent person States should provide prisoners with the best defense attorneys 1. Creque, 98

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