Ethics of capital punishment
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Ethics of Capital Punishment. Dante Robinson. Introduction. What Is Capital Punishment?. Capital punishment , or the death penalty, is defined as the legal process whereby a person is put to death by the state as a punishment for a crime. Unethical?.

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What is capital punishment
What Is Capital Punishment?

  • Capital punishment, or the death penalty, is defined as the legal process whereby a person is put to death by the state as a punishment for a crime.


  • Nobody has the right to decide whether another individual has the right to live.

    • Playing God

  • Portrays a negative, warped image of justice, bordering revenge.

    • Eye for an eye? Is the government above this?

  • It is possible to accuse the innocent

    • What happens if you kill a man who is wrongly accused?

I object
I Object!

  • Some would say:

    • “It is justified because it is only employed in situations where the crime is SO offensive that death is the only sufficient punishment.”

  • Penal system ≠ Desire to punish

  • Protect Public


  • Sentence those who would get the death penalty to life in prison.

Why did i choose this issue
Why did I choose this issue?

  • I chose this because:

    • Warped idea of Justice

    • Death Penalty Prime example

Playing god
Playing God?

  • The government is composed of people like everybody else

    • What gives them the right to choose who lives?

    • Government is necessary to regulate civil behavior

  • Death penalty is not regulation. It is murder. Which makes the government as bad as the convicted

The supreme court and the politics of death
The Supreme Court and the Politics of Death

  • “The preceding survey of the basic incentives of the institutional players in the death penalty process reveals the kind of death penalty the politics of death have produced in America. In each death penalty jurisdiction, there is essentially not one death penalty system, but two. One is the system that many supporters of capital punishment mistakenly believe we have; the other, the politicized death penalty that actually decides who lives and who dies.” – Steven Smith

    • Many who support the death penalty do not fully understand it’s terms

  • It is not a matter of right/wrong, as it should be.

Death for death
Death for Death?

  • What lesson does the death penalty teach?

    • “Violence is not the answer!”

    • Mahatma Ghandi

    • Government is no different.

    • Death penalty effectively states that crime is justifiable, as long as you did not start it.


  • Constitutional Defense

    • 8thAmendment – “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

    • Cruelty is undermined when administered by the victimized or the government

    • The convicted are not immune to cruelty


  • From 1973-1999, there was an average of 3.03 exonerations per year. From 2000-2011, there has been an average of 5 exonerations per year.

  • If the evidence that freed these men had been found after their death, the U.S. penal system would be responsible for the deaths of innocent people

  • How many HAVE suffered innocently?

Rationalizing immoral behavior course packet excerpt p 48
“Rationalizing Immoral Behavior”Course Packet Excerpt, p. 48

  • “Given the many mechanisms for disengaging moral control at both the individual and collective level, civilized life requires, in addition to human personal standards, safeguards built into social systems that uphold compassionate behavior and renounce cruelty” –Dr. Albert Bandura

    • Bandura would clearly view the death penalty as unethical.

    • He would describe the many arguments in favor of the death penalty as “dehumanization” or “Alleged Moral Justification”

      • Assailing others as degenerates, devils, savages or infidels.

      • Being done for the greater good.

The question of forgiveness course packet excerpt p140 claudia card the atrocity paradigm 2002
“The Question of Forgiveness”Course packet excerpt, p140: Claudia Card, The Atrocity Paradigm, 2002

  • “Although forgiveness cannot be compelled, one can be at fault in failing to offer it to those who deserve it or refusing to grant it when asked by those who have done all they can to atone. But one can also be at fault in offering it too freely or quickly”

    • Card would clarify that whether forgiveness is due, is dependent upon each individual situation.

    • Rationally, we can assume that death eliminates the possibility for the mutual process of forgiveness, and undermines the importance of the concept altogether.

What do i propose
What Do I Propose?

  • Rather than sentencing people to death, sentence them to life in prison.

    • Many people are already given this sentence

    • Sufficient ‘punishment,’ without taking someone’s life

    • Death for Death is fighting fire with fire. Life in prison is more like the water that extinguishes the fire.

    • Life in prison allows leeway for the chance of a breakthrough which would prove the prisoner innocent

I object again
I Object Again!

  • “Isn’t life in prison as unethical as death?”

    • Punishment is not the job of the government

  • Death is absolute.

  • Chance to atone.

What if
What If…

  • …If the amount of people serving life sentences exceeds the amount of space in the prisons. What would you do then?

  • The amount of money saved on the Death Penalty yearly could be put towards extensions in the prisons.

    • For example, DPIC’s summary of California Cost study estimates the annual cost of the present death penalty system to be $137 million per year

    • Same study states that imposing maximum penalty of life in prison rather than death penalty would be $11.5 million per year.

Implementation of solution resilient leadership
Implementation of Solution: Resilient Leadership

First steps
First Steps?

  • Death Penalty Information Center

    • Non-profit, unbiased

    • Petition to create branch

    • Spread awareness

    • Encourage contact of representatives

  • If not

    • Start NPO

    • Death Penalty Awareness Program

    • Same purpose


  • Preservation of Human Life

  • Justice vs. Compensation/Revenge/Punishment

  • Inform Citizens on the views portrayed throughout this presentation, based on facts.

Final thoughts
Final Thoughts?

  • Do you think the Death Penalty is unethical?

  • If so, do you find life in prison equally unethical?

  • What if someone in your family was the victim?

Works cited
Works Cited

  • Alarcon, Arthur L. & Mitchell, Paula M. “Executing the Will of the Voters?: A roadmap to mend or end the California legislature's multi-billion dollar death penalty debacle.” Los Angeles Las Review Vol. 44 Special Issue (2011): S41-S216. Electronic.

  • “Innocence and the Death Penalty.” Death Penalty Information Center. N.p, n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2012.

  • Smith, Steven F. ““The Supreme Court and the Politics of Death.” Virginia Law Review vol. 94. Issue 2 (2008): p283-383. Print.

  • 17 USC. Sec. 304. 2000. Print.