ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by David T JohnsonSubscribe to David T Johnson

On Rape and Capital Punishment

Would capital punishment for rapists help protect India's girls and women? Would a capital trial for these gang rapists help reform the deeply dysfunctional system of criminal justice? The answer to both questions is in the negative.

India's Lethal Lottery

While the "rarest of the rare" doctrine has made capital sentencing a very infrequent event in India, it has also turned the country's system of capital jurisprudence into a lethal lottery. Its legal framework for deciding which crimes are the "worst of the worst" was largely borrowed from the United States. Ironically, no nation has tried longer or harder than the US to construct a system of capital justice that reaches only the rare and also right cases without also condemning the innocent, and no nation has failed more conspicuously. Why do these two nations want a punishment that they no longer need, especially when it is so inconsistent with their own best values?

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