Feb 25, 2024
Feb 25, 2024
by BS Murthy
In the article “Capital punishment- Doctrine of torture and kill”, we have seen how “to execute a man for murder is to punish him immeasurably more dreadfully than is equivalent to his crime.” Just the same, if all murderers were to be put to death in the same manner, as a means of deterrent or not, one might still say, unjust or otherwise, there was uniformity of justice after all. But it is not the case either: who were to know whether death by hanging is more humane than beheading or the lethal injection is more considerate than the electric-chair and vice versa. It can be said that the presumptive ‘relative mercy’ of these execution modes would never be known since there is no way to execute one in all ‘four ways’ to get a feedback. And even if it were possible, individual perceptions about the ‘pain factor’ in the respective executions might vary. That way, the administration of capital punishment in varied ways is fraught with the objectivity of subjectivity - of the statute of the country and in case of the United States of America, the State in which one is condemned.
What about the travesty of the due process of law that leads one to the gallows etc?
The question is better answered by repeating the ‘old argument’ about the fallacy of the judicial process that earmarks some of the murderers for the death row in ‘the rarest of rare cases’. It is not difficult to see how the law unjustly turns its head on the ‘unfortunate criminal’ - say, two men, Mr. X and Mr. Y, the condemned are entitled to courtesy though not to equity as would be evident, are arraigned in the same court, albeit before a different bench, for having murdered their spouses, provoked alike to kill in a like fashion. More often than not, it so happens that the ‘effective advocacy’ for mercy by the lawyer involved combined with the ‘exalted approach’ of the ‘judge on the bench’ might earn Mr. X a reprieve of life as ‘lifer’. On the other hand, the ineffectual defence of Mr. Y’s ‘case for mercy’ by his advocate coupled with the ‘legalistic attitude’, not something to be faulted by any means, would lead him to the gallows or whatever to his doom.
What justice is it that one murderer is allowed to ‘live’ and another is condemned to ‘die’ for the same crime by the same law that strives to be just at all costs? There can never be ‘justness in justice’ crippled by ‘subjectivity of objectivity’ and only the abolition of capital punishment would bring in ‘objectivity to subjectivity’ in administering the criminal justice.
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