In a research paper “Is Capital Punishment Morall Required? The Relevance of Life-Life Tradeoffs” by Cass R. Susstein and Adrian Vermeule, the authors suggest that death penalty is morally justified on the basis of distinction between acts and omissions. Most opponents of death penalty argue that it is barbaric for a government to take a human life since there is a difference between an act, such as killing a person, and omission, such as refraining from the act. But, researchers argue, by forbidding official penalty, government officials de facto allow numerous private killings that are left unpunished. However, a government that fails to maintain the welfare of the citizens by omitting death penalty from the criminal code will leave citizens unprotected and decrease their welfare “just as would a state that failed to enact simple environmental measures that could save a great many lives” (Sunstein, Vermeule 2005:41). Therefore, punishing the criminals is a necessary part of any state policy. The interests of victims or potential victims of murders cannot be overlooked in order to consider the interests of the criminals guilty of the most heinous crime - taking a person's life.
One of the most important arguments in favor of death penalty is the fact that it helps to deter capital crimes. This issue is debatable since there have been suggestions that application of death penalty has no serious effects on the rate of murders, for instance. Besides, opponents of death penalty claim that it is not possible to deter so-called crimes-of-passion committed in an emotionally affected state when a person is not capable of thinking about future punishment. However, there is evidence that application of capital punishment can indeed prevent crimes, even those that are committed by intimates.
Death penalty, in my view, has to be supported on the ground of just retribution for murder. Still, I do not believe in death as a form of punishment for drug dealers, however heinous their activities might be, since they did not violate human lives. Political crimes should not be punished with death either, as this would open the way to political repression and physical elimination of political rivals, as it happened in Stalin's times in the Soviet Union. However, when a person murders another person, death is the right kind of retribution. This is analogous to penalties imposed for instance for robbery or theft - the criminal often has to forfeit one's possessions for taking the property of another person. Similarly, it is fair that one who has consciously taken the life of another person should suffer death.
“Most death penalty cases involve the execution of murderers although capital punishment can also be applied for treason, espionage, and other crimes” (ProCon, 2014, para1).
Ring and “The Death Penalty Should Be Abolished,” published by Amnesty International, are two articles that oppose capital punishment as a deterrent to crime by discussing the risks of the “inhumane” form of punishment....
Many supporters of capital punishment cite retribution as being a justification for the death penalty; however, no matter what the circumstance, murder is never justified.
Another common argument given in favour of death penalty is an economical consideration. Comparisons differ depending on the bias of the people carrying out the comparison. Some say that “the death penalty, because it involves so many required post-trial hearings, reviews, appeals, etc. ends up costing more than life imprisonment” (NCWC). However, these extra expenses have to be diminished through increasing the cost-efficiency of the legal system, and society that is spending huge amounts on legal services would benefit from such a reform. Just considering the cost of keeping a 25-year-old inmate incarcerated till the end of one's life is startling and endorses the view that society has to select death penalty as a cheaper option.
There is a massive amount of economic literature that investigates the incentive effects of the death penalty. The question being, does it deter further murders? In other words, does the execution of a murderer prevent still more people from being murdered?
If yes, then a strong case exists for capital punishment. Indeed, many supporters of the death penalty do so for that very reason. If no, however, then there is little rational basis for execution. As a punishment it does not rehabilitate offenders, but it does prevent recidivism. The empirical evidence is contested. Economists have debated the evidence for over 30 years, and tempers fray quickly.
According to the 2004 Australian Election Study 51 per cent of Australians support the reintroduction of the death penalty for murder. That is down from nearly 68 per cent in 1993 and 66.3 per cent in 1996. So support for the death penalty has eroded during the Howard era. Nonetheless a majority of Australians apparently still support capital punishment.
Rather than enter into that debate we looked at the demand for the death penalty, especially in light of concerns about terrorism. We make the reasonable assumption that terrorism involves mass murder. We made use of the Australian Election Survey from the 2001 and 2004 elections. National security issues have been at the forefront of voters’ minds at the last two elections.
Capital punishment should be abolished because while even though many supporters of the death penalty claim that it prevents crime, there is no evidence that it has been proven to do so....
What is quite remarkable is the notion that “Australia opposes capital punishment”. It is not at all clear that everyday Australians oppose the death penalty. Recall the outbreak of joy and exuberance when Bali bomber Amrozi was sentenced to death. Recall the anger when Abu Bakar Bashir received a light prison sentence. Opposition to the death penalty is an elitist concern.