Examples Of Utilitarian Case For Capital Punishment

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A Utilitarian Case For Capital Punishment

On November 21, 1973, a man named Troy Leon Gregg murdered two men while hitchhiking in an attempted robbery in the mountains of Georgia. In the case Gregg v. Georgia, Gregg was sentenced to the electric chair by a Georgia Grand Jury and this decision was upheld by the US Supreme Court after many appeals. It was deemed that the death penalty does not violate the eighth amendment of the constitution that prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. Although Gregg escaped custody and was found dead one day prior to his execution, the decision reaffirmed the use of capital punishment in the United States. The death penalty has been the the most effective, yet controversial punishments when dealing with
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There is a sense of closure given to the victim’s family because the convicted killer can never kill again. The death of a proven murderer may, in fact, create happiness for the general public along with the victim’s families. However, capital punishment should not be based upon lex talionis, an “eye for an eye” mentality. This is a retributive mentality and the punishment is created because the offender “deserves” the punishment. Retributive punishment focuses on revenge for the past rather than looking to improve the future. The utilitarian purpose of punishment is not revenge, but rather what creates the most happiness for society as a whole. Society gains little from revenge for a past crime but can gain happiness for the future if the crime never occurs again. After a crime is committed, it cannot be undone. It can, however, be dealt with so it never occurs again. The question is no longer should capital punishment be used, the question is now how capital punishment should be used. Does every murderer deserve the death penalty? In his 1868 opposition to a bill that would outlaw the death penalty, Mill gives a speech to Parliament encompassing the necessity of the capital …show more content…
Utilitarianism simply states that society should find what creates the most utility and apply that action. Philosophy is not performed in a vacuum and every crime has different circumstances that can lead to a different punishment which creates the most utility. Every consequence must be weighed if a certain punishment is applied and every case is unique. A utilitarian decision can be based upon past precedents and experiences, as done in the United States legal system. For example, society would not benefit from the execution of a mentally impaired man that was the cause for another’s

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