Death penalty panel tackles the topic of race [in the system]

originally by: Student Life
published: 17th November 2011

Following the recent Troy Davis execution controversy, the Washington University Pre-Law Society presented a panel of experts to discuss the practice of capital punishment and whether or not racism plays a role in implementation of the death penalty. The panel featured Bevy Beimdiek, an adjunct professor of trial practice at the University’s School of Law; Redditt Hudson, a representative from the Missouri American Civil Liberties Union chapter; Rita Linhardt, chairwoman of the board for Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty; and Kit Wellman, professor chair of the University’s Department of Philosophy.

All four said the death penalty is wrong in practice. They agreed that the death penalty works disproportionately against minorities. Professor Wellman gave a theoretical analysis of the death penalty.  He explained that the question of whether or not the death penalty is morally wrong pertains to the question of the rights one forfeits when one commits a crime.

“The question is, obviously, ‘Can you ever forfeit your right to life?’ Some people think that that right is inalienable, that no matter how I behave, I can’t forfeit my right to life,” Wellman said.

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