Invasions of Conscience and Faked Apologies
in Criminal Law Conversations, 2009
3 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2008 Last revised: 10 Apr 2009
This comment responds to an essay by Jeffrie Murphy, which powerfully notes the limitations and dangers of using remorse and apology as metrics for punishment. But the state is more justified in teaching lessons than Murphy suggests, and retributivism ought to make more room for victim vindication and satisfaction. Gauging sincerity, while difficult, is not impossible. In the end, Murphy offers strong reasons to be cautious. But a humane society ought to be more willing to take chances and, having punished, to forgive.
Keywords: Remorse, apology, forgiveness, mercy, clemency, pardon, parole, sentencing, criminal procedure, criminal justice
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