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Arguments Against Capital Punishment - Essay Example

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This essay "Arguments Against Capital Punishment" claims that capital punishment proves ineffective as an instrument of deterring violent crime on political, ethical, and theological grounds…
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Arguments Against Capital Punishment
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Download file to see previous pages Having backed the claim for the ineffectiveness of capital punishment in preventing crime using statistics, an important disclaimer needs to be added – “Statistics is not everything”. In other words, even if capital punishment is helpful as a deterrent to violent crime, it cannot justify the execution of a few innocent victims alongside the guilty ones. Hence, the claim that the death penalty was “morally obligatory” based on statistical findings alone is simply insufficient in dealing with the complexities of human nature. For example, Clive Stafford Smith, a renowned expert on ethical aspects of law makes some valid observations in his research article for the New Scientist:
“I have spent more than 20 years representing some 300 men, women, and children who faced capital punishment in various US states. I do not think of my clients as statistics. Six of them have died in the execution chamber. Often I have staved off executions only at the last minute. Many of my clients have been innocent: human beings make fallible judges, and no machine has more human parts than the criminal justice system. I, therefore, feel strongly that when academics step out of the classroom and into the public discourse on this matter they must be held responsible for their actions.” (Smith, 21)
The above argument was presented as a polemical response to a paper published by Sunstein and Vermeule in the Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies in March of 2005. In this paper, Sunstien and Vermuele claim that “every death penalty execution saves the lives of 18 potential victims”. First of all, a mathematical approach to solving human fallacies is inappropriate. On top of that, the statistic is given in support of the “death penalty efficacy” is largely second-hand. Of the thousands of studies published on the subject over the last decade or so, most of the evidence in support of capital punishment was taken from research findings taken many years back. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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