Arguments Against Capital Punishment Essay

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Outline the moral arguments against capital punishment.
1. The death penalty has been distributed in a discriminatory manner because African American or poorer defendants are more likely to be executed than equally guilty others, especially when the victim is white (Russell 1998: 134).

2. Miscarriages of justice occur and the innocent are executed. The American Bar Association (ABA) has urged the appointment of experienced, competent, and adequately compensated trial counsel for death penalty cases and has lobbied for the adoption of its Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Counsel in Death Penalty Cases. Clearly, the ABA believes that standard professional qualifications are insufficient for capital cases.

3. The death penalty expresses a desire for vengeance—a motive too volatile and indifferent to the concept of justice to be maintained in a civilized society. The notion that revenge can stand as a motive for official policy on punishment is entirely inconsistent with a rational system of justice conducted by the state on behalf of society (Bedau 1999: 50).

4. Capital punishment is considered to be degrading to human dignity and inconsistent with the principle of the sanctity of life. The argument is that human life, having infinite value, should be respected and protected and that even murderers’
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