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«School of Economics and Political Science, University of St. Gallen Department of Economics Editor: Martina Flockerzi University of St. Gallen School ...»

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40. D.R. WILLIAMS (2006) argues that the whole debate is futile because it is about ideal systems and does not take the reality into account. However, the fundamental question demands an answer even if it is acknowledged that the reality of the death penalty in the United States is far from a (perhaps possible) ideal situation. To refer to the non-ideality of the current situation might be taken as an excuse that an answer is not necessary at the moment, it is, however, not a substitute for such an answer.

– 22 – fect of the death penalty is morally relevant, as long as legal judgements are supposed to take into account their consequences, a demand that can hardly be rejected. On the other hand, as long as the evidence for a serious deterrent effect of the death penalty is so weak, it can hardly be used as a justification for this kind of punishment. Moreover, today the most serious murderers internationally are the suicide bombers. They cannot be deterred by the death penalty at all. Thus, the potential deterrent effect of the death penalty as well as its role in justifying this kind of punishment, collapse with respect to perhaps the worst crimes of all today.

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