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61 Cards in this Set

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(1) Question 6

Igor Primoratz
-Igor Primoratz is pro-retribution in his essay "A Life for a Life."

-Primoratz is indifferent to the deterrent value of the death penalty and says he is not convinced the DP has a deterrent value.
Primoratz says the offense,

-what a person does, is what gives society the right to punish someone

-he then says it is possible to make retribution a kind of equality in which the punishment fits the crime.

-This argument serves as the foundation for his argument on proportionality
According to Primoratz' view of proportionality

-the more severe a crime is, the more severe the punishment should be, and, the less severe a crime is, the less severe the punishment should be.
Primoratz says if someone steals another person's

-property, the life of the one who stole the property is worth more than the property itself.

-If someone is kidnapped and has their freedom taken away, and the kidnapped person is left alive after the kidnapper is apprehended, the kidnapper should not be executed because the kidnapper left the victim with something.
Yet, Primoratz says that with murder

-the offender leaves the victim with nothing, and therefore deserves to die for their crime.

-Primoratz says execution is proportional because the murderer left the victim with nothing, and the death penalty leaves the murderer with nothing.
Leaving the murderer alive

-even if the murder is in prison for the remainder of his life, leaves the murderer with more than the murderer left the victim.
"All people have a right to life"

-the first argument against retribution that Primoratz refutes is the argument that all people have a right to life.

-since everyone, including murderers have a right to life, the death penalty is morally impermissable.
Primoratz, however, says that when one person mureders another,

-and therefore violates a person's right to live, the murderer forfeits his right to life.

-In this argument, Primoratz says a person has a right to live only if they haven't murdered another person and therefore violated a person's right to live.
Another argument Primoratz refutes is the anti-retributive argument that says

-"not all people are equal."

-this argument is based on the belief that if an 18 kills a 90 year old, and the 18 year old is executed, then the 18 year old loses more than the 90 year old because the 90 year old may not have lived much longer, while the 18 year old probably would live a lot longer.
Primoratz disagrees with this argument because

-there is no possible way to tell who would lose more.

-Primoratz also says that the modern humanistic and democratic tradition is based on the idea that all people are equal.

-therefore, Primoratz says the principal of proportionality still applies in a case such as this one
Stephen Nathanson disagrees with the

-death penalty, and says that when people discuss the death penalty, they mean either the equality principle or the proportionality principle.
Equality Principle

-If someone agrees with the death penalty, Nathanson says they also agree with the equality principle, because the equality principle is based on an "eye for an eye" type of thinking.
Yet, Nathanson disagrees with the equality principle because he says

-it is cruel and unusual to rape a rapist, torture torturers, or burn arsonists whose actions have led to deaths.

-Nathanson says that such an argument requires people to act barbaric and inhuman in response to those who have committed barbaric and inhuman actions.
Nathanson does, howevever, agree with the

-proportionality principle.

-According to Nathanson, the proportionality principle says that "the more severe a crime is, the more severe the punishment should be. The less severe a crime is, the less severe the punishment should be."
The proportionality principle, in Nathanson's view,

-does not mean that the most severe punishment is death.

-The proportionality principle leaves the option of death on the table, but, according to Nathanson, no one can conclude that the proportionality principle unequivocally supports the death penalty.
In Nathanson's View

-the most severe punishment would be life in prison without the possibility of parole.

-Nathanson says locking someone up in a cell where no one will ever see again is the most severe and morally permissable punishment available.
The Lecturer disagrees with the retributive argument

-for three key reasons

-first, the lecturer sees no correlation between the social function of the death penalty and cruel and unusual punishment
In Gregg v. Georgia, Troy Gregg tried

-to overturn the death penalty by saying it violated the 8th amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
However, the majority opinion disagreed, saying

-that the death penalty serves key social purposes such as preventing anarchy and deterring people from commiting violent crimes worthy of the death penalty.
The lecturer disagrees with this verdict,

-by saying that the death penalty does not deter people from commiting violent crimes, and that a life sentence could prevent anarchy and vigilatism just as well as a death sentence could.
The lecturer says having a social deterrent value

-is necessary for continued support of the death penalty, and if the death penalty does not prevent violent crimes, then the execution of a criminal is pointless.

-the lecturer therefore believes that having the death penalty is cruel and unusual.
For instance, the lecturer

-says that if you cut off the hands of pick pockets, you would probably see a huge drop in the number of pick pockets.

-yet this punishment would also be considered cruel and unusual punishment, and therefore morally impermissable.
Dissent in Gregg v. Georgia

-Justice Marshall begins his dissent in Gregg v. Georgia by saying that if the American people were more adequately informed about the death penalty, they would oppose the death penalty.
He then cites a United Nations study that

-shows there is no correlation between the deah penalty and lower rates of crime.

-he uses this study to say that if executing a murderer does not produce a lower crime rate, then it accomplishes nothing to execute the murderer.
The death penalty is therefore

-unconstitutional because it violates the 8th amendments ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Laws passed by 35 states to

-more strictly regulate the use of the death penalty don't matter to Justice Marshall because he views the death penalty as cruel and unusual in any way it is regulated
Justice Marshall disagrees

-with the majority opinion that the death penalty discourages anarchy and vigilatism by saying that a sentence of life in prison would deter just as well as a death sentence.
Furman v. Georgia

-Furman v. Georgia was a supreme court case that struck down the death penalty due to the beliefs that the death penalty was administered in an arbitrary way, that it was cruel and unusual in the way it was admnistered, and the death penalty takes away the dignity of man.
The Court ruled this way

-because, when the sentencing phase of a trial came up, and the jury was forced contemplate giving the offender life or death, the jury did so without detailed instructions about how to arrive at the decision of life or death.
Without more detailed

-sentencing guidelines, the court felt as though the jury was giving sentences in an arbitrary way.
Woodson v. North Carolina

-Woodson v. North Carolina was a Supreme Court case that came up because of the court's decision on Furman v. Georgia.

-In this case, North Carolina tries to clearly define an area of capital crime.
If a jury finds a person to

-fit into the area of capital crime, then the jury is forced by the state to give that person the death penalty.
The Supreme Court ruled

-that this North Carolina law was unconstitutional because it took away all the discretion of the jury.
Therefore, the Supreme Court says

-that states can have the death penalty, but they must administer it in such a way that allows it to maintain a level of jury discretion.
In other words,

-the state must give the jury standards to follow when giving out a life or death sentence, but must also allow the jury to maintain a level of discretion.
In Gregg v. Georgia,

-Troy Gregg was trying to challenge the constitutionality of the death penalty by saying it was cruel and unusual (and therefore violated the 8th amendment). The majority opinion in this case disagreed and upheld the death penalty.
Majority Opinion for
Gregg v. Georgia

-the majority opinion starts off by reviewing the history of the 8th amendment and saying the phrase "cruel and unusual" comes from the English bill of rights, and was borrowed by the framers of this amendment.
This phrase,

-according to the majority opinion, was meant to forbid torture, not to forbid the death penalty.

-the opinion then went on to say when a penalty for a crime could be considered excessive, and therefore cruel and unusual.
Penalties, according to the

-majority opinion, must not involve the wanton infliction of pain, and must not be out of proportion to the crime committed.
The Wanton infliction of pain

-means that punishment is administerd in a wild reckless way.
When the majority says punishment should be in proportion to the crime committed

-they mean that someone should not be executed for stealing an apple.

-Such a severe penalty for so seemingly minor an offense would be way out of proportion to the crime committed.
Two Principal Purposes
for Death Penalty

-the majority opinion goes on to say that there are two principal purposes of the death penalty:

-the social function of the death penalty, and the deterrent factor of the death penalty.
Social Function

-According to the majority, the death penalty serves a minor social function in that it allows society to express its moral outrage at morally repugnant crimes.
Deterrent Factor

-According to majority, the death penalty also deters people from committing violent crimes worthy of the death penalty.
The Opinion concludes by

-saying that even though the death penalty is an extreme form of punishment, Troy Gregg and others like him deserve to be executed for their horrific actions.
The severity of the death penalty, therefore,

-is balanced by the severity of the crimes committed.
Also, the opinion notes

-that revisions to death penalty laws have given the jury standards in deciding whether or not to execute an offender.

-they also note that the jury must also look at the circumstances of the crime when deciding to give a life sentence or a death sentence.
For instance,

-did the murder happen in the course of committing another capital felony?

-Was it committed for money?

-Was it committed in a particularly heinous way or in a manner that endangered the lives of many persons.
Louis Pojman

-supports what is known as the Vandenhaig position on deterrence.

The Vandenhaig position says that people will be less likely to kill if they know they will be executed because they killed someone.
Pojman's argument does not assume,

-however, that the death penalty works in deterring people.

-what he says is "maybe the death penalty does have a deterrent value," and "maybe the death penalty does not have a deterrent value."

-this sets what he calls the best-bet argument
Best Bet Argument

-the best-bet argument basically says we should choose the action with the greatest benefit and least amount of loss.

-in this instance, Pojman uses the best-bet argument to say that the death penalty might work in deterring people, and explains why the death penalty has the greatest benefit and least amount of loss to society.
The execution might

-end up scaring a potential killer, and prevent that person from murdering someone.

-this gives the argument what Professor Krecz says is a 5 star value.
If the death penalty doesn't

-have a deterrent value, the state has unnecessarily killed a convicted murderer. This execution, therefore, did not produce anything positive, but it did not produce anything negative either.
Pojman goes onto say that

-if the US bans the use of the death penalty, the US might fail to deter somene from committing murder, and an innocent person would lose their life because of it.
Pojman decides not to try and make his point advocating

-the use of the death penalty by using statistics because he says that the numbers don't really conclude anything.

-instead, he tries to make his point using what he calls common sense
For instance,

-he says people fear dying more than they fear life in prison

-based on this fear, Pojman says if someone fears one penalty more than the other, such as capital punishmnet compared to life in prison, then a person will be less likely to commit a crime worthy of the more severe punishment.

-also, he says people would likely ignore the speed limit if they were only going to recieve a 20.00 ticket for speeding. However, if they were going to recieve a 1000.00 ticket for speeding, then they would be much more likely to obey the speed limit.
Jeffrey Reiman

-on the other hand says that life in prison is just as effective at dettering homocides as the death penalty.
Reiman says the average criminal

-is just as afraid of life in prison as he is of the death penalty.

-Therefore, Reiman says that if life in prison doesn't deter criminals, neither will death.
Reiman also notes

-that in the US there are more guns than houses, and you are more likely to be killed on the streets than executed for committing a murderous crime.

-knowing this, why would a potential criminal be afraid of the death penalty?
Reiman then uses statistics to show that, following the use

-of the death penalty, there is actually an increase, not a decrease in the murder rate
To conclude, Reiman says

-the death penalty is part of a brutalization effect that has made the US the most violent 1st world country.

-this, in turn, encourages Americans to try and solve their problems with the use of violence.