Philosophycal problem

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  • Publié le : 3 avril 2011
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In the case of Coker V. Georgia, the plurality of justices ruled the death sentence for a rape of an adult woman was grossly disproportionate and an extreme penalty for the crime. Therefore, it was prohibited by the Eighth Amendment as cruel and unusual punishment.

Though rape is an atrocious crime, it does not in any case compare to murder, for “murder necessarily results in thephysical death of the victim while rape does not” (pg, 512). The distinction is relevant in determining if retribution is handled properly in this case. If Coker had killed Mrs. Carver, she would not have had the opportunity to see what the future held for her. Her life would have ended then and there, and only her legacy would have been left behind. Though rape is a damaging experience, because she wasraped and not killed she had the opportunity to live and see what the future held for her. This analysis is applicable in order to understand why Coker should not been sentenced to death. Perhaps castration would be more appropriate than death in this case, because Coker would lose sexual impulse. Through castration, he would be given the same opportunity as Mrs. Carver to see what the futureheld for him. And just like her, he would be deprived of an important dignity, but would still be able to live and attempt to better his existence. It is arguable that castration is cruel punishment, but rape is also a cruel crime; the most important fact is that neither party loses their life. Both would live with serious injury, but most importantly, they would still remain among the living. Thisis the best retribution possible under the Eighth Amendment.

Additionally, were Coker sentenced to death for this specific case, it would be clear that his condemnation was based on his previous crime and not on the issue at stake: we would have a system advocating revenge over justice. Coker should have received the death sentence when he raped and committed murder. Under thosecircumstances, his sentence would have been constitutionally justifiable under the Eighth Amendment, knowing that the goal of the Eighth Amendment is to ensure that punishment received by a defendant is proportional to his crime. If the Georgia judicial system accorded him the benefit of doubt by preventing the death sentence the first time and sentencing him to life imprisonment, then they shouldacknowledge that not only were they wrong, but were also negligent in their duty of keeping Coker from hurting innocent people. The state’s duty to protect its citizens by securing prisoners where they are unable to commit harm to the innocent is a critical priority. Their failure resulted in the crime committed. Indeed, the fact that Coker escaped from a Georgia prison is appalling and inexcusable; heis not the only person on whom blame should fall for the situation. A sentence of death should not be delivered because the Georgia prison cannot create a more competent penitentiary system. By putting all the blame on Coker, Georgia jurisdiction is ignoring the glaring fact that their judicial system is just as responsible for what had happened to Mrs. Carver as Coker’s actions. After all, Cokerwas able to commit the crime because those who are tasked with protecting our citizens from Coker did not do their job properly. It is obvious that negligence occurred; and furthermore, it is rare is to see a person who carries a life sentence not attempt escape if he has the opportunity. Perhaps, if a civil case were to be brought for punitive damage, the penitentiary would be held totallyresponsible because of their breach their duty.

Even more troubling, the dissent argument reflecting on the idea that “Coker is already serving such a lengthy prison sentences that imposition of additional periods of imprisonment would have no incremental punitive effect” is not relevant to the case; most importantly, it is based on assumption. The purpose of the judicial system is to ensure...