Capital Punishment and Redemption

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In 2005, a man named Stanley Tookie Williams was sentenced to death by the State of California after being convicted of murdering four people. While waiting for his execution, Williams attempted to make amends by writing children’s books that warned about the dangers of gangs and violence. Because of these acts, many people believed that Williams’ sentence should be reduced to life in prison.

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The governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, did not believe he truly regretted his actions, due to the fact that he laughed and bragged about the situation while on trial, and rejected his plea for clemency. Was the governor’s decision to execute Stanley Williams morally permissible? Should his attempts at redemption allow him to have a lesser sentence? It was morally right of Governor Schwarzenegger to uphold the decision to execute Stanley Williams.

According to Social Contract Theory, the morally right action is the one that adheres to the set of rule a person has agreed to follow. In this situation, the United States Constitution is the social contract that governor Schwarzenegger had to abide by. Although it does not explicitly say what should be done in cases involving capital punishment, the eighth Amendment does ensure that a person cannot be deprived of their life, liberty, or property without a fair trail for the crime they are accused of. Williams was given a fair trial and he was found guilty. As a result, the state of California had the right to execute him. Even though he tried to amend his situation, it does not change the fact that he was convicted of four murders. If Governor Schwarzenegger had granted Williams’ plea for clemency,

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