Real-World Criminal Law and the Norm against Punishing the Innocent: Two Cheers for Threshold Deontology

29 Pages Posted: 11 May 2017

See all articles by Kevin Cole

Kevin Cole

University of San Diego School of Law

Date Written: April 10, 2017

Abstract

This paper assesses how a deontological retributivist might elaborate the norm against punishing the innocent and explains how that norm can be reconciled with the practicalities of the criminal law. While something like the Doctrine of Double Effect has been deployed for that purpose, the doctrine is controversial and may not reach far enough to justify all the instances in which a robust norm against punishing the innocent confronts real-world difficulties, including in the framing of criminal prohibitions. The paper considers the role that threshold deontology might play in the process. Along the way, it responds to an extended critique of threshold deontology.

Keywords: Punishing the Innocent, Retributivism, Deontological Retributivism, Threshold Deontology, Doctrine of Double Effect

Suggested Citation

Cole, Kevin L., Real-World Criminal Law and the Norm against Punishing the Innocent: Two Cheers for Threshold Deontology (April 10, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2966398 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2966398

Kevin L. Cole (Contact Author)

University of San Diego School of Law ( email )

5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
United States

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