To be reasonable, legislative imposition of death eligibility must be rooted in benefits for at least one of the five classes of persons affected by capital offenses.That's all he says about the victims! They're already dead. As if making murder a heavily punished crime doesn't prevent some people from becoming victims. Recent research undermines the convenient old assumption that the death penalty has no deterrent effect. Stevens says nothing about that because, I suspect, Garland doesn't.
First, of course, are victims. By definition murder victims are no longer alive and so have no continuing interest.
November 28, 2010
The book under review is David Garland's "Peculiar Institution: America’s Death Penalty in an Age of Abolition." The review itself is much more of a straightforward summary of the book than the usual NYRB essay. Toward the end: