Death Penalty: Legality and Morality Relationship

Every law requires not only the comprehensive analysis of the circumstances but also the identification of the relationships between legality and morality. In other words, the application of the law requires the penetration into the moral assessment of the particular legal case. As a rule, illegal things are immoral and vice versa. However, there are complicated cases as well. For example, capital punishment, the dispute over which remains tense and highly politicized as stakes are too high. Is it moral to apply the death penalty?

On the one hand, the death penalty makes a morally corrupting effect on society. It has a direct impact on people who are involved in it and indirect impact on the whole society by the very fact of having the death penalty that affirms the brutalizing idea that killing may be fair and beneficial to society (“Arguments against Capital Punishment” par. 44). As the main principle of the law is the balance of personal freedom and common well-being, capital punishment should be considered as an anti-legal act.

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Besides, in the case of the capital punishment, friends and relatives of the offender are also punished as it can make such a strong influence that can lead to suicide or madness, not to mention the moral suffering. Capital punishment is an attack on the moral principle of the personal immunity of the individual as people tend to equate morality to non-violence. Speaking of the welfare of the society, the key objective is to eliminate the damage caused by a criminal while the death penalty reimburses nothing. Additionally, the execution of the innocent that might occur due to mistakes or flaws in the justice system is the paramount argument against capital punishment.

On the other hand, the death penalty might be considered as a legal act because it is applied as a punishment for the murder, particularly, retribution (Howard par. 5). The above argument is the most prevalent one. Capital punishment is superior to other forms of punishment concerning the psychological criteria. The convict knows about death in advance, and it undoubtedly makes the death penalty more severe than the other punishment.

The advocates justify capital punishment as it deters others from committing a similar crime. However, the mentioned argument that is based on the intimidating effect may seem significant only at first glance. At a deeper approach, it is easily refuted as the death of the criminal is less efficient in preventing the crime than his continuous and desperate existence in prison. Moreover, the death penalty is sometimes considered as the benefit to the society that eliminates dangerous criminals. It may be objected as the society could secure itself by the life confinement.

To sum up, capital punishment remains a controversial issue. Consequently, even legal things might be immoral. I agree with the opponents of capital punishment and believe that it should not be introduced. 

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