Debating the Death Penalty: Should America Have Capital Punishment? The Experts on Both Sides Make Their Best Case

By Hugo Adam Bedau; Paul G. Cassell | Go to book overview
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NOTES
1
The numbers in parentheses refer to the page numbers in Bedau's essay, “An Abolitionist's Survey of the Death Penalty in America Today.”
2
It seems that the former mayor of New York City, Fiorello LaGuardia, had this in mind when he said, “I would hang a banker who stole from the people.” Quoted in Alyn Brodsky, The Great Mayor: Fiorello LaGuardia and the Making of the City of New York (Truman Talley Books, 2003).
3
See Hugo Adam Bedau, The Death Penalty in America (Oxford University Press, 1982) and his “Capital Punishment,” in Matters of Life and Death, ed. Tom Regan, (Random House, 1980); see also Jeffrey Reiman, “Why the Death Penalty Should Be Abolished in America,” in The Death Penalty: For and Against, ed. by Louis P. Pojman and Jeffrey Reiman (Rowman & Littlefield, 1998).
4
Mike Royko, quoted in Michael Moore, “The Moral Worth of Retributivism,” in Punishment and Rehabilitation, 3rd ed., ed. Jeffrie G. Murphy (Wadsworth, 1995): 98–99.
5
Thomas Jefferson, Bill for Proportioning Crime and Punishments (1779), quoted in Ernest van den Haag, Punishing Criminals: Concerning a Very Old and Painful Question (Basic Books, 1975): 193. I do not agree with all of Jefferson's claims, but the principle is correct.
6
These are the most notorious of recent murders, but if you agree that these culprits deserve the death penalty, the case has been made against the abolitionist who wants to abolish the death penalty altogether.
7
See his speech in this volume announcing his commutation of all of Illinois's death sentences. I will comment on this toward the end of my essay. Joshua Marquis also makes some pertinent comments on this commutation in his essay in this volume.
8
Sir James Fitzjames Stephens, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity (Cambridge University Press, 1967): 152.
9
Sir James Fitzjames Stephens, A History of Criminal Law in England (Macmillan, 1863): 80.
10
Thorstein Sellin, The Death Penalty (1959), reprinted in The Death Penalty in America, ed. Hugo Bedau (Anchor Books, 1967). Isaac Ehrlich, “The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: A Question of Life and Death,” American Economic Review, 65 (June 1975): 397–417.
11
Sophisticated abolitionists argue that the death penalty doesn't deter better than long-term prison sentences, but their less sophisticated disciples often make the broader claim. I hear the charge regularly from students that the death penalty fails to deter.
12
Nathanson, An Eye for an Eye? (Rowman & Littlefield, 1987): chap. 2.
13
Michael Davis offers a similar commonsense argument for the deterrent effect of the death penalty. His article is especially useful as it shows just how little the statistics of social science demonstrate and why we should take the common sense data as weightier. See his “Death, Deterrence, and the Method of Common Sense,” Social Theory and Practice, vol. 7, no. 2 (Summer 1981).

-74-

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