The Death Penalty in Operation

Matthew H. Kramer

in The Ethics of Capital Punishment

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199642182
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191732188 | DOI:
The Death Penalty in Operation

Show Summary Details


This chapter explores some problems surrounding the administration of capital punishment: the possibility of mistakes, the alleged arbitrariness of the distinctions between defendants who are executed and defendants who are merely imprisoned, and the occurrence of racial discrimination in sentencing. While the chapter allows that each of these problems does exist to a certain degree, it maintains that each of them has been significantly overstated and misunderstood. Hence, although the chapter leaves open the possibility that capital punishment is never justifiable in practice (even while being justifiable in principle), it provides grounds for thinking that the use of such punishment can be legitimate as well as obligatory in credible contexts.

Keywords: administration; arbitrariness; racial discrimination; mistakes; justification

Chapter.  31632 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.