Is it Unfair to Punish Completed Crimes More than Attempts?

Gideon Yaffe

in Attempts

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199590667
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595530 | DOI:
Is it Unfair to Punish Completed Crimes More than Attempts?

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Many jurisdictions punish attempts less than completed crimes. Deniers of “moral luck” especially have thought this unfair. Under a plausible expressivist theory of punishment there is “sanction luck”, even if there is no “censure luck”. Even with no difference in exercises of control, different sanctions can be deserved, even if different degrees of censure are not, since the same degree of censure can be expressed by different sanctions: other expressive functions can be served by sanction, such as expression of the value of the victim's loss. So, there need be no unfairness in giving a lesser sentence to an attempt. This view is developed through rejecting the claim that it is unfair to sentence last act attempters and completers differently since they have done the same thing. It can be fair, it is argued, but it is often unfair to sentence last act attempters and non-last act attempters differently.

Keywords: attempt; sentence; sanction; censure; moral luck; control; expressive theory of punishment

Chapter.  12599 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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