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Jurisprudence Commons

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Legal Studies

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

2006

Criminal Sentencing

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Full-Text Articles in Jurisprudence

A Contractarian Argument Against The Death Penalty, Claire Oakes Finkelstein Oct 2006

A Contractarian Argument Against The Death Penalty, Claire Oakes Finkelstein

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Opponents of the death penalty typically base their opposition on contingent features of its administration, arguing that the death penalty is applied discriminatory, that the innocent are sometimes executed, or that there is insufficient evidence of the death penalty’s deterrent efficacy. Implicit in these arguments is the suggestion that if these contingencies did not obtain, serious moral objections to the death penalty would be misplaced. In this Article, Professor Finkelstein argues that there are grounds for opposing the death penalty even in the absence of such contingent factors. She proceeds by arguing that neither of the two prevailing theories ...