CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Thursday, November 9, 2017

"A Simple Suggestion on the Death Penalty"

Bill Otis has this post at Crime & Consequences:

There was a time when abolitionists argued principally that the death penalty is immoral, because, first, the government should not be killing people, and second, there is always the risk of executing the innocent, with no going back if we make a mistake.  These arguments failed to move the needle much for at least the last 40 years, so abolitionists have turned in a different direction:  They now say the death penalty simply costs too much and takes too long.

. . .

Taking it off the books for always and ever just makes no sense.  Why should the public deprive itself, on present impracticality grounds, of ever being able to use the death penalty, when practicalities might change, and/or when we see a case (like the Boston Marathon murders, the Charleston racist church massacre, or the recent Jihadist atrocity in New York) in which society has powerful grounds to conclude that we will bear even great expense, delay and practical hurdles in the name of imposing the only punishment that comes close to fitting the crime?

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