Punishment and the Principle of Equality in Criminal Law
The principle of equality applies itself in the criminal law not only in a defendant's defense but also in his prosecution and punishment.3 min read
Punishment and the Principle of Equality
The principle of equality, that great tradition of Anglo-American civilization, applies itself in the criminal law not only in a defendant's defense but also in his prosecution and punishment. The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution proscribes equal protection under the law to every citizen of the United States. It's in this very spirit that a certain amount of equality is proscribed in the prosecution of like crimes, even when individual justice and common sense might suggest otherwise. A simple example may illustrate this point.
A man and his wife are walking down an empty street at night, when suddenly they're accosted by some roguish fellow with a long history of violent crime (let's call him Barney) and asked to relinquish their wallets. Barney is not armed, but he's fairly large, and intimidating enough without a weapon. When the couple hesitates, Barney moves as if to attack. The husband, who watches a lot of action movies, grabs his pocketknife and without thinking jabs it into Barney's neck, puncturing Barney's windpipe and causing him drown to death in his own blood.0px;" class="adsbygoogle">