Bedau's Argument Against The Death Penalty

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According to Hinman (5), just punishment is the one that happens to those who are proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt. This is important because capital punishment is irreversible and hence only the guilty should be executed. However, there are many cases of innocent people who have been sentenced to death only to have their appeals granted at the last minute, or worse, denied and executed. It is on these grounds that Bedau (2007) argues against the death penalty because it is unjust and unfair. About unfairness, he goes on to add that racial and economic discrimination are also a factor to consider when meting out capital punishment. For example, it is correct to argue that people who kill white people are treated far worse than those who kill other races regardless of the offender’s own race. Between January 1977 and December 1995, 313 people were executed, 249 had murdered a white person. (Bedau, 2). This inability of capital punishment to show equality is one of its limiting factors. …show more content…

Haag (2007) writes that the death penalty is feared more than imprisonment because of its finality in that the person is excommunicated from the living. As such, it is a more effective and necessary form of punishment. Berns (1996) writes that the law must be “inspiring or commanding ‘profound respect or reverential fear’” for it to be effective in deterring criminals. However, people in favor of abolishing the death penalty can argue that despite its deterrence benefits, the life of the murderer is important. This means that the victim’s life is less important even though the offender is the one who has committed a crime. In this sense, capital punishment is limited by its ability to reduce crime rather than offer

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