Author Archives: batnomin

Capital Punishment in the United States

For the purpose of the term paper, I have chosen Capital Punishment in the United States. I have always been fascinated and disturbed at how easily a human life can be destroyed under the law. I would like to provide some background information on Capital Punishment in the United States as I will be discussing it further in detail in my paper. Capital punishment( a.k.a the death penalty) in the United States is limited under the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution to cases of homicide, crimes against the state, and crimes against humanity committed by mentally- competent adults( 2005). However, in practice, it is only ever used in cases where aggravating circumstances exist, including aggravated murder, felony murder, and contract killing.  The death penalty is currently a legal sentence in 37 states and in the federal civilian and military legal systems. At this point, the method of execution is thru a lethal injection (Death Penalty, 2008).There are seventeen U.S states that do not have a death penalty:

Alaska

Hawaii

Illinois

Iowa

Maine

Michigan

Minnesota

New Jersey

North Dakota

Rhode Island

Vermont

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Massachusetts

Connecticut

New Mexico

New York

John Finnis would say that the death penalty is unjust because he believes death penalty is a violation of the requirement that law should value human life. Finnis’s  7 basic forms of human flourishing include:

  1. The valuing and transmission of life.
  2. knowledge for its own self
  3. ‘play’
  4. ‘aesthetic experience’
  5. ‘sociability’ and especially friendship
  6. ‘practical reasonableness’ that ‘seeks to bring an intelligent and reasonable order into one’s own actions and habits and practical attitudes’- this structures the ways in which we pursue basic goods
  7. ‘religion ‘ or the value of spiritual experience (Pavlich, 2011)

Therefore, Finnis would argue that by cutting a person’s life short is in clear violation of the first of the seven basic forms.

Critical race theory would say that the death penalty is unjust as it mainly affects the minority race groups, such as black, Hispanics, and Aboriginal people. I will support the critical race theory by providing case studies.

Reference List

“Facts About the Death Penalty”, Retrieved on November 25, 2012 from the webpage

http://www.deathpenaltyinfor.org/FactSheet.pdf, Death Penalty Information Center, 2008

Kennedy v. Louisiana, 554 U.S. 407(2005).

Pavlich, G. (2011). Law & Society Redefined. Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford University Press.

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NYPD’s Stop and Frisk Program

This week we watched the video on NYPD’s Stop and Frisk program in action. At first,  it may seem like it could be a good program to adopt for other cities, but if we do some basic research it will become very clear that this program is basically a  form of racism. Stop and Frisk program raise serious concern over racial profiling, illegal search and seizure, and privacy violation of an individual. Research shows that this program tend to target mainly minority groups such as Latin Americans, African Americans…etc. According to statistics, about 684,000 people were stopped in 2011. Unfortunately, over 80% of those stopped have been completely innocent(NYPD stats). In the video itself, the officers literally stopped the guy for looking suspicious. I would really like to know what is considered suspicious in their terms. If, for example, I have a backpack and I keep on looking over my shoulder to check who is behind me, I would probably look “suspicious” to NYPD officers. In fact, I do exactly that because I live in not so safe area and it is a habit of mine to check my back.

There have been numerous protests against this specific program. Strangely enough, police have defended racially disparate patterns of stops on the grounds that minorities commit disproportionately more crimes than whites (especially the types of crime that capture the attention of police), and that the spatial concentration and disparate impacts of crimes committed by minorities justifies more aggressive enforcement in minority communities(MacDonald, 2011).

Critical race theory is a perfect “tool” for analyzing NYPD’s Stop and Frisk program. Critical race theory is about race and confronting racism which seem to be deeply ingrained in every aspect of American society ( Pavlich, 2011). According to the UCLA School of Public Affairs: “ Critical race theory recognizes that racism is engrained in the fabric of the American society. The power structures are based on white privilege and white supremacy, which perpetuates the marginalization of people of color”.

The video was about NYPD, but I feel like VPD has a similar system. As I have mentioned in class, the sergeant told the officers to target specific group of people and issue as many tickets as possible. The officer who took me for the ride along said that he better do what the sergeant says in order to prove that he can do the job. I’m pretty sure that Canada is not as bad as America in terms of systemic racism, but its still there lurking somewhere close.

Reference list:

MacDonald, H. (2011). The myth of racial profiling. City Journal 11, 2-5.

Pavlich, G. (2011). Law and Society Redefined. Ontario, Canada: Oxford University Press

Stop and Frisk Campaign: About the Issue. New York Civil Liberties Union. Retrieved 29 March 2012.

What Is Critical Race Theory?. UCLA School of Public Affairs. Retrieved 11 March 2012.

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Every normal society has crime deeply rooted in its DNA.

I agree with Emile Durkheim that crime is a normal part of any society. Durkheim stated, “without crime…there can be no sense of what is normal and what is not” (Pavlich 2011, 80). Any given society has some sort of crime and will continue to have for as long as that society exists. What constitutes crime differs from one society to another. For example, possession of marijuana might be considered a crime in some countries, but it is completely normal in other countries. Also, like Durkheim said, without crime we would not be able to differentiate right from wrong or what is normal and what is abnormal. In other words, there would be no difference between right and wrong which is the absolute necessary part for any society to function. The way how a person might view a crime seem to be closely related to how the society in general views it. Like I mentioned in the class, the society shapes its members and their perceptions in general. Personally, if I was still living back home,  I would have never thought of bullying as wrong because no one talks about it and no one educates people about it.

Durkheim stated that, “ A differentiated division of labour in fact strengthens society because socially produced individuals depend on the specialized tasks performed by others to survive. There is, as such, greater functional interdependence between individuals in complex modern society”( Pavlich 2011, 76). Crime creates job opportunities in any given society( think police, fire fighters, ambulance)  and it also brings communities together through programs and initiatives like community policing. Because of crime, the members of society come together and depend on each other in providing safety. The Norman conquest of England in 1066 gave rise to an obligatory form of avocational citizen policing (Klockars, 1985). The “watch and ward” and “ hue and cry” ideas were codified in 1285 in the Statutes of Winchester (Klockars, 1985). This clearly show that crime was always part of any society and it created certain sense of interdependence in communities.

Bibliography

Klockars, C.B.(1985). The Idea of Police. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage

Pavlich, G. (2011). Law & Society Redefined. Toronto: Oxford University Press.

 

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by | October 22, 2012 · 5:48 am

Unjust punishent

Being stoned to death for cheating is an unjust and inhumane punishment. Stoning is an actual death penalty that is practiced in many Muslim countries. These countries include, but not limited to Iraq, West Bank, Jordan, Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey, Mexico( some parts), and Africa. Stoning sentence is given to those people who commit adultery. It is an actual written law and mostly affects women who are accused of committing an adultery. The law says that it applies to everyone regardless of sex, but evidently men do not suffer this brutal and unjust punishment. Almost all the men who have committed and adultery gets lesser sentence in these countries, but women cannot avoid it because they are not allowed to hire a lawyer or defend themselves.

From Wikipedia:

Stoning, or lapidation, is a form of capital punishment whereby a group throws stones at a person until the person dies. No individual among the group can be identified as the one who kills the subject, yet everyone involved plainly bears some degree of moral culpability. This is in contrast to the case of a judicial executioner. Slower than other forms of execution, stoning is a form of execution by torture.

The government in these countries seem to suggest that the their religious text Qu’ran dictates that people who commit adultery shall be receive the harshest and most brutal way of execution. Unfortunately, it is a lie as I have read the entire Qu’ran translated into English.  In fact, nowhere in Qu’ran it dictates of punishment, rather it dictates that people be forgiving and understanding of one another.

If you apply both Finnis and Fullers’ tests to legitimizing stoning death sentence, it would further support that it would be unlawful and unjust to allow this brutal punishment.

Fuller believes that law are the rules for human conduct. Fuller suggests that so long as the law meets the requirements of Fuller’s 8 elements of law, then it is lawful and just. In the case of stoning. One of Fuller’s law is:

5. He enacts contradictory rules. This applies well for the case of stoning death punishment because the law does not affect people in a same way. It contradicts with the actual practice.

On the other hand, Finnis suggests that in order for the law to be just and lawful, it should be able hold all 7 forms of human flourishing then the law is unjust and immoral.

7. ‘religion’ or the value of spiritual experience.

Stoning is not a practice of a religious or spiritual person’s action. The whole idea of accusing their religion of being responsible for this brutal punishment is a clear message of a sadist.

The fact that there is the unjust law and it affects certain genders is in itself unjust and unlawful.

Following is a useful information link regarding stoning.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoning

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