Shannon A. Meehan
J. Polanowski, Instructor
Argument Against The Death Penalty
Capital punishment or the death penalty is defined as the lawful execution of a person who has committed a capital offense such as murder. In this paper, I will be considering capital punishment as a result of the crime of murder. In the United States, there is an ongoing debate about capital punishment in regards to retribution, , arbitrariness, discrimination, and innocence. My view is that due to a flawed system of justice the death penalty should be abolished in the United States. The issues that this paper will address are retribution, , arbitrariness and innocence.
Immanuel Kant asserted that, “If…he has committed murder he must die. In this case, there is no substitute that will satisfy the requirements of legal justice.” Kant and other supporters of the death penalty argue that if a person commits murder they are giving up their right to life and deserve death. The murderer knows that he could be punished for his crime so the death penalty cannot be unjust to a murderer.(van den Haag) The argument of retribution is also based in the religious idea of “an eye for an eye” or “a life for a life”. Kant and other supporters of the death penalty believe that the punishment should fit the crime so therefore the only acceptable punishment for murder is death.(3 Philosophos) J. Budziszewski, PhD, a professor of Government and Philosophy, pointed out:
Society is justly ordered when each person receives what is due to him. Crime disturbs this just order, for the criminal takes from people their lives, peace, liberties, and worldly goods in order to give himself benefits. Deserved punishment protects society morally by restoring this just order, making the wrongdoer pay a price equivalent to the harm he has done.(“Capital Punishment: The Case for Justice”)
Opponents of the death penalty argue that retribution is just another form of revenge, and that two wrongs do not make...