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Capital Punishment

The issue of capital punishment divides libertarians just as it does other Americans. Debates among libertarians and others generally fall into two areas: the abstract question of whether the state may ever legitimately puts its citizens to death, and the more specific question of whether capital punishment is just and fitting as it is actually implemented in the American system of criminal justice.

Opponents argue that capital punishment is cruel and unnecessary, that juries in capital cases are almost inevitably unrepresentative of the community and skewed toward vengeance, that the risks of erroneous conviction and execution are unacceptably high, and that the breadth of discretion in charging decisions by prosecutors and sentencing decisions by juries renders capital punishment arbitrary and unfair, if not outright biased.

Proponents maintain ...

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