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The Death PenaltyA Worldwide Perspective$
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Roger Hood CBE QC (Hon) DCL FBA and Carolyn Hoyle

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199228478

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199228478.001.0001

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A Question of Opinion or a Question of Principle?

A Question of Opinion or a Question of Principle?

(p.350) 10 A Question of Opinion or a Question of Principle?
The Death Penalty

Roger Hood

Carolyn Hoyle

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the role of opinion, particularly public opinion, in relation to the politics of capital punishment. It discusses the possible impact that organisations of so-called ‘survivors’, the relatives of the victims of murder, may have on the politics of capital punishment. It reviews findings from research which has attempted to measure attitudes of the public towards capital punishment, including various subsections of the public who may have distinctive views on the subject. One of the main justifications for the death penalty is that the families of victims may consider that it is the only just response to heinous crimes and that they cannot move on from grieving without the execution of the perpetrator. The chapter concludes with a consideration of the extent to which legislatures and constitutional courts should be influenced by public opinion in its various forms.

Keywords:   public opinion, politics, abolition, victims' relatives, human rights

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