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The Death Penalty


An e-mail:

Ramesh, I’m as pro-life as anyone but I see the death penalty a little differently.  I agree that the way it’s administered makes its use ridiculous as either a punishment or a deterrent.  The one way it is very useful though is as a bargaining chip for prosecutors.  Many unsolved crimes are resolved through admissions by a killer who’s been offered life in prison instead of the death penalty, in exchange for his cooperation.  Such resolutions are no small matters to the families involved.
I understand that. But this consideration can’t, I think, overcome the moral point, at least not by itself; you could easily come up with terrible punishments we wouldn’t want to see employed but would act as useful bargaining chips for prosecutors. 


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