An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind
Troy Gregg was incarcerated in State of Georgia in 1973 for two murders for
committing armed robbery and murder of two men.
A jury found Gregg guilty sentenced him to death.
Gregg challenged his remaining death sentence for murder, claiming that his capital
sentence was a "cruel and unusual" punishment that violated the Eighth and
Result: Supreme Court ruled in favor of the State of Georgia and rejected the idea that
capital punishment is inherently cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth
Case Study: US Supreme Court Gregg vs.
Added to Bills of Rights in 1791
Prohibits the federal government from imposing excessive bail, excessive fines or
cruel and unusual punishments, including torture.
Added in 1868
Most complicated and the one that has had the more unforeseen effects.
The goal was to ensure that the Civil Rights Act passed in 1866 would remain
valid ensuring that all persons born in the United States were citizens and
were to be given “full and equal benefit of all laws.”
Lethal Injection (most common)
Firing Squad (Oaklahoma)
Methods of Execution
Book: Assessment of Costs (2011)
• Prof. Mitchell
Totaled 4 billion since 1978
• $1.94 billion: pretrial and trial cost
• $925 million: automatic appeals and state petitions
• $775 million: federal appeals
• $1 billion: costs of incarceration
If convert death rows sentences to life without paraole
• Immediate saving $170 million per year
• In 20 years: $5 billion saving
Cost of death penalty vs.
Life without Parole
punishment is not justified by any good results, but simply by the criminal’s
guilt. Criminals must pay for their crimes; otherwise an injustice has
occurred. Furthermore, the punishment must fit the crime.
the only punishment that is appropriate for the crime of murder is the death
of the murderer.
“Whoever has committed a murder must die
Immanuel Kant:The Retributive
Theory of Punishment
“morally justifiable and sometimes needs to be a punishment that is used to
“It ends the existence of those punished, instead of temporarily imprisoning
justice is when many of the guilty (as much as possible) are punished
regardless of whether others have avoided punishment.
“You’ll get what you deserved”
ErnestVan Den Haag:The Ultimate
Punishment: A Defense
“that it is good in principle to avoid the death penalty and bad in practice to
death penalty doesn’t deter future murderer
Jeffrey H. Reiman: Against the death
Tried to prove the unfairness and differences between white vs. black
criminals and those who are better off financially vs. those in low income
Example: if murderer was to kill a white person, he would have a higher
chance in getting death penalty especially if the murderer is a black person.
Those on death rows are from lower income individuals or blacks and
therefore, death penalty is unjust since it is seen as being discriminate.
Current case: Zimmerman vs. State of Florida
Reiman --- continued