Race, capital punishment, and the cost of murder

Philosophical Studies 127 (2):255 - 282 (2006)
Abstract
Numerous studies indicate that racial minorities are both more likely to be executed for murder and that those who murder them are less likely to be executed than if they murder whites. Death penalty opponents have long attempted to use these studies to argue for a moratorium on capital punishment. Whatever the merits of such arguments, they overlook the fact that such discrimination alters the costs of murder; racial discrimination imposes higher costs on minorities for murdering through tougher sentences, and it imposes lower costs on whites for murdering minorities by dispensing weaker sentences. These cost differentials constitute an injustice not simply to actual minority defendants in capital cases, nor simply to the actual minority victims of murder, but to all members of minority communities. I here offer two arguments for a moratorium on capital punishment: The first draws upon evidence of racial discrimination against minority defendants in capital cases, and claims that such discrimination modifies the costs of murder in such a way that minority individuals do not enjoy equal status under the law. The second draws upon the evidence regarding racial discrimination in relation to the race of victims, and claims that such discrimination modifies the costs of murder in such a way that minority individuals do not enjoy the equal protection of the law. Thus, by not assigning equal costs to murder, the American criminal justice system fails to provide racial minorities the equality under the law and discounts the value of their lives and liberties. A moratorium is the least unjust response to such a social injustice. I also reply to the criticism that a moratorium prevents us from executing deserving murderers.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 12,068
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA
Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

110 ( #10,602 of 1,101,813 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

7 ( #41,591 of 1,101,813 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.