The Death Penalty and Victims’ Rights: Legal Advance Directives

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Heather J. Gert, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Insofar as we support the victims’ rights movement, we have reason to support the use of legal advance directives allowing individuals opposed to the death penalty an effective means of expressing their wish that their murderers not be executed. This is an extension of taking victims’ rights seriously in other circumstances, and helps to demonstrate that we truly respect the rights and autonomy of persons who have become victims. We have considered a number of worries about granting victims this sort of power, but given that most of those who are professionally concerned with the issue of the death penalty agree that there is no good reason to believe that the failure to impose the death penalty increases the risk of capital crime, we have been unable to discover anyone who has a legitimate interest in prohibiting such legal advance directives. If a murder victim could speak, his request that his murderer not be sentenced to death ought to be given serious consideration. By means of legal advance directives murder victims can speak.

Additional Information

Journal of Value Inquiry, vol. 33, no. 4, December, 1999, pp. 456-473
Language: English
Date: 1999
death penalty, victims' rights, legal advance directive

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