Determining the Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: Key Issues Many people have strongly held views on the deterrent effect of the death penalty.
This article first appeared in the Christian Research Journal, volume 17, number 1 For further information or to subscribe to the Christian Research Journal go to: Contemporary culture, in contrast, is permeated with arguments against capital punishment.
Even among those professing Christian faith, there is widespread opposition to the death penalty. As a trend, the ever-increasing role of the media in manipulating public sentiment in the face of pressing ethical debates promises not to subside.
While we may grant that the Christian community is divided over this issue and while we take no delight in its clarification, the church — in keeping with its earthly mandate — is to instruct the state in matters of justice.
The highly publicized executions of Robert Alton Harris California and Roger Keith Coleman Virginiafor better or worse, injected a new level of urgency into the debate over capital punishment. In both cases the extent to which the American public was treated to a numbing display of sentimentality by media pundits was nothing short of breathtaking.
A more recent case involving a disabled murderer, Charles Sylvester Stamper, further fueled the death penalty debate on a national level. Stamper, who killed three people in a restaurant robbery, became the first person in a wheelchair to be put to death since the Gregg v.
Georgia Supreme Court ruling in that reinstated capital punishment.
Debates about capital punishment usually play to the emotions. Contemporary Western culture is saturated with arguments that call for its abolition. In addition, the media play an ever-expanding role in shaping the contours of ethical discourse.
Film and television exert an inordinate influence on our perception of reality. Television alone packs an enormous psychological punch.
In reporting on capital punishment cases, TV will not engage the public with a reasoned exchange of viewpoints; rather, it uses powerful visual stimuli to impart the impression that executions are repugnant and morally reprehensible. In the end, debates over the death penalty are more a spectator sport than a quest for truth and justice.
This loathing, strangely, is often in the context of increasingly barbaric criminal acts themselves. Not infrequently this moral confusion manifests itself in a pretext of compassion, in much the same way that abortion advocates who decry graphic films such as The Silent Scream attempt to obscure moral culpability and redefine the notion of victimhood.
Meanwhile, society is stripped of its most fundamental right — protection from violent criminal acts.
The blast from point-blank range instantly crushed the skull and snuffed out the life of a year-old mother. A month later he abducted a four-year-old boy from a school playground, molested and tortured him, then hanged him.
When his death sentence was handed down in court, Dodd did not hide the pleasure with which he committed the crimes. The November kidnap-murder of a year-old girl in Northern California is a case in point.
The slayer, Richard Allen Davis, had two previous kidnap charges to his record before abducting Polly Klaas from a slumber party at her home and driving her to her strangulation-death 40 miles away. In truth, genuine abuse of the system is illustrated by the fact that while judges engage in moral vanity, the death sentences of premeditated murderers — when not revoked — are delayed for years due to legal technicalities.
Legal experts, who by citing a lack of available statistics contend that capital punishment has not constituted a measurable deterrent, have strangely overlooked the obvious — namely, that at the very least it deters murderers by guaranteeing no possibility of parole or escape, hence precluding new crimes committed by repeat murderers.
- Capital Punishment Capital punishment is the most severe sentence imposed in the United States and is legal in thirty-eight states. The death penalty is a controversial subject, especially because the U.S. is the only western democracy to retain this consequence (Scheb, ). These are some of the legal issues at the heart of longstanding legal debates over our use of capital punishment. But on a more practical level, any debate over the efficacy of the death penalty should also include a discussion of the enormous psychological toll capital punishment takes on jurors, Justices, Governors, and even executioners. These are some of the legal issues at the heart of longstanding legal debates over our use of capital punishment. But on a more practical level, any debate over the efficacy of the death penalty should also include a discussion of the enormous psychological toll capital punishment takes on jurors, Justices, Governors, and even executioners.
What in fact has watered down the death penalty deterrent is the manner in which much-publicized cases such as those of Harris and Coleman have dragged on over the years, thereby reflecting a wholly inconsistent approach to criminal justice.
Absent of moral standards, the courts and the criminal justice system languish under the whims of activist judges and the psychotherapeutic elite, at the utter expense of bona fide social justice. The extent to which death penalty abolitionists have rendered justice impossible is graphically illustrated by one social critic.
Estimating aboutmurders in the U.punishment system is structured to create distance from the moral and emotional dimensions of the decision. As Scott Sundby observed, aggravating factors like ‘especially heinous” or “vile” give the jurors. The death penalty: debating the moral, legal, and political issues / "Does capital punishment act as a deterrent to the commission of certain crimes?
Is state-sponsored execution of criminals abhorrent to the standards of civilized society? A more thorough discussion of the ethics of capital punishment can be found in J. D. Charles, “Outrageous Atrocity or Moral Imperative: The Ethics of Capital .
These are some of the legal issues at the heart of longstanding legal debates over our use of capital punishment. But on a more practical level, any debate over the efficacy of the death penalty should also include a discussion of the enormous psychological toll capital punishment takes on jurors, Justices, Governors, and even executioners.
The death penalty, also known as capital punishment, is a legal process of punishment for crime. The Church views capital punishment as wrong and not necessary. The Church views capital punishment as wrong and not necessary. whether capital punishment is a legally permissible sanction. Other studies have examined whether homicide rates are associated with moratoriums on executions ordered by governors or courts.