Capital Punishment

Punishing the Criminal or Punishing the victim?

A Position Paper


Muhammad Hozien



Prof. Michael Haliprin

William Paterson University

Spring 1999

Essay by: Muhammad Hozien



In this case that the Supreme Court in 1972 found that the death penalty was "cruel and unusual" punishment under the circumstances of its application in this case.


In this case the Supreme Court in 1976 found that the death penalty as applied in this case to be constitutionally acceptable.


Hugo Adam Bedau is of the opinion that the death penalty is a "cruel and unusual punishment" that goes against human dignity. He further states that it is ineffective as deterrent and that just as murder itself is wrong so is the death penalty. When government shows disrespect for human life, by applying the death penalty, it has greater consequence than when does an individual does so.


Ernest van den Haag argues for the death penalty that even if it can not be proven that it is an effective deterrent the chance that it is justifies saving the innocent lives that will be murdered. Further, he maintains that there are certain crimes that deserve the death penalty, such as war crimes, treason and repeat murders.


The punishment that seems appropriate for causing death is suffering death. Once you intently take someone’s life you are giving up your right to life. Accidental death and self-defense are to be excluded from this.

Public execution is a deterrent to crime. If the people get a chance to view the execution they are less likely to want that fate to happen to them.

Yes, There are crimes that deserve such punishment. Reason for such punishment is a deterrent to crime. Today’s major criminals are rewarded (i.e. media attention) some sick minds see that as a way to attain fame or infamy.

The argument that states Capital Punishment is not a deterrent to crime that is false. The reason for the fallacy is as follows. It is well known that when the punishment for certain crime is by imprisonment it will be less likely to be done. Given a case in point, if the crime for drunk driving is a loss of driving privilege for say 3 years it is less likely that people will drive drunk than if the punishment was for 3 months. One can endure a loss of privilege for 3 months easier than 3 years. If the punishment is greater let us for 10 years it might be less effective.

For there is after awhile a diminishing return, a case in point, convicted killers with a sentence of life imprisonment and no chance of parole, will have no deterrent not to kill again. They know they are in there for life and no matter what they do they will not be punished further. It does not matter if you get 1 life sentence or 10 or 20. You only have only life to live. If you are going to be in prison for the rest of your life it does not really matter.

Now you can do anything that you want. What can they do to you. Convicted killers in prison serving life sentences have a high chance of killing either fellow prisoners or the guards if they get a chance. Further Death row inmates if given a chance will always chose life imprisonment, any sort of life is better than no life.

Therefore it would only be that the highest deterrent to crime is the punishment of death. Malaysia a country that was ridden with a rampant drug abuses which was brought under control by the death punishment. Anyone that is arrested and convicted with drug possession will be sentenced to death. Their drug problem was instantly diminished. Sure there was outrage by the international community but it is now well known that Malaysia is country that is avoided by drug traffickers.

By punishing the killer with death you are decreasing the likelihood of him committing further crime.


Essay by: Muhammad Hozien


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