An Indian court sentenced four men to death Friday for the rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman in New Delhi, an attack that appalled the South Asian nation.

Announcing the sentence, Judge Yogesh Khanna said the crime "shocked the collective conscience" of India and fell into the "rarest of rare category" that deserves capital punishment.

"In these times when crimes against women are on the rise, the court cannot turn a blind eye to this gruesome act," he said.

One of the convicted men, Vinay Sharma, broke down in tears and cried loudly as the judge spoke.
Prosecutors had asked for the death penalty for the men, citing the "extreme brutality" of the attack,
which took place on a moving bus in December. They had also argued the court needed to send a message to Indian society with its judgment.

(read the rest of the article here)

Is the death sentence appropriate in this case? Anyone who's normally against capital punishment ready to make an exception for cases like this?

Tags: Delhi, New, death, rapists, sentence

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Incarceration is there for rehabilitation. This is why we name the department that governs the system "Corrections." Thus, life without parole is a perversion of the system. What is the point of correcting someone if they will never be allowed in society again? As a deterrent, there can be little doubt that death deters better than life imprisonment. You can at least theoretically escape from prison, Once dead, there is no escape. 

Revenge is worthwhile as a palliative for the survivors and for the injured. In that sense, it is true justice. An eye for an eye is more satisfying than "let's forget the victims and help the offender." A trial shouldn't be about what's good for the offender, but what satisfies, especially those who were injured and those who survive.

Incarceration is there for rehabilitation.

Incarceration is also available for punishment, as I just explained: death by incarceration.

This is why we name the department that governs the system "Corrections." Thus, life without parole is a perversion of the system.

"Department of Corrections" does sound a bit more catchy than "Department of Jails, Prisons and Execution Chambers", the latter of which isn't providing any correction service either.

What is the point of correcting someone if they will never be allowed in society again?

I didn't couch it, Unseen. I said punish, not correct. I'm thinking of the two men who raped and killed that mother and her girls before burning their house down in Connecticut. I'm thinking of the brutes who drove the bus around and made her boyfriend watch while they gang raped that young woman to death. The punishment IS the point. 

As a deterrent, there can be little doubt that death deters better than life imprisonment. You can at least theoretically escape from prison, Once dead, there is no escape.

You're probably right. Renaming "Life Imprisonment" to "Death by Incarceration" would help make the distinction clear.

Revenge is worthwhile as a palliative for the survivors and for the injured. In that sense, it is true justice. An eye for an eye is more satisfying than "let's forget the victims and help the offender." A trial shouldn't be about what's good for the offender, but what satisfies, especially those who were injured and those who survive.

Agreed on the revenge and satisfaction aspects, with certain limitations. For one, I wonder how many of the victim's family members in India would be satisfied to lower the condemned into a vat of hydrofluoric acid a quarter of an inch at a time. For another, I don't think government should have the legal power of life and death over the governed, even in criminal matters. Corruption and incompetence are too common, and as you pointed out earlier, death is too final. 

Incarceration is also available for punishment, as I just explained: death by incarceration.

We imprison people AS punishment, not FOR punishment. 

"Department of Corrections" does sound a bit more catchy than "Department of Jails, Prisons and Execution Chambers", the latter of which isn't providing any correction service either.

Getting rid of a stone cold killer, it might be argued, corrects society. Reestablishes a balance.

Agreed on the revenge and satisfaction aspects, with certain limitations. For one, I wonder how many of the victim's family members in India would be satisfied to lower the condemned into a vat of hydrofluoric acid a quarter of an inch at a time. For another, I don't think government should have the legal power of life and death over the governed, even in criminal matters. Corruption and incompetence are too common, and as you pointed out earlier, death is too final. 

Hydrofluoric acid? That's nasty, but how about strapping him into a giant cold cut slicer set to "shave."

Justice should, first, do something for those who the criminal hurt. Almost always, when the families of capital criminals are interviewed, they want an eye for an eye kind of justice. Short of that, they tend to feel that the state isn't taking their loss and their pain seriously.

What is the purpose of punishment?  Is it a corrective mechanism, a deterrent, or a form of revenge?

For extreme cases, such as the premeditated gang rape and murder in India or the home invasion murders of a wife and mother and her two daughters in Connecticut, I am calling it primarily revenge.

Would it not make victims feel better, or safer, if the perpetrator could never harm them again?

No, since in these cases the victims are dead. I think of Steven J. Hayes and then imagine he had raped and murdered my wife and young daughter, then burned their corpses. I would spend many days comforted by knowing he is locked in cage alone and will never be comforted by anything again, except the thought of ending his own miserable existence. 

If the perpetrators believe they will be 'judged' by some superpower after death or not, who cares?

If this keeps them from committing suicide for fear of eternal damnation, thus allowing the torment of solitary to continue for a few more decades, then it's a bonus.

I believe she (the victim) was a nurse on her way to work. A worthwhile human destroyed by a bunch of human hyenas.

In your list in the first paragraph, you missed the possibility of "ensuring the guy never can commit the crime again."  Even incarceration can be looked at as this (albeit for shorter term than "forever'); while the guy is in jail he is not committing armed robbery at the stop-n-rob.  It could conceivably be worth jailing (or in the case of a capital crime, executing) someone for that reason alone.

Remembering the victim was raped by these neanderthals, I find the violent beating and choking that led to her death equally horrific and unsettling. I will never understand the mental state of a small group of males who develop this frenzied state of punishing their victim.

It is sad that they cannot suffer a thousand deaths for their actions. Once is not enough.   

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