The Status of Capital Punishment: A World Perspective


Download The Status of Capital Punishment: A World Perspective


Preview text

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology
Volume 56 Issue 4 December
Winter 1965
The Status of Capital Punishment: A World Perspective
Clarence H. Patrick

Article 1

Follow this and additional works at: https://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/jclc Part of the Criminal Law Commons, Criminology Commons, and the Criminology and Criminal
Justice Commons
Recommended Citation
Clarence H. Patrick, The Status of Capital Punishment: A World Perspective, 56 J. Crim. L. Criminology & Police Sci. 397 (1965)
This Article is brought to you for free and open access by Northwestern University School of Law Scholarly Commons. It has been accepted for inclusion in Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology by an authorized editor of Northwestern University School of Law Scholarly Commons.

VOL 56

The Journal of
CRIMINAL LAW, CRIMINOLOGY, AND POLICE SCIENCE
Copyright @ by Northwestern University School of Law
DECEMBER 1965

NO. 4

THE STATUS OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT: A WORLD PERSPECTIVE

CLARENCE H. PATRICK

The author has been professor of sociology at Wake Forest College since 1947. Earlier he was professor of sociology at Shorter College and Meredith College. He received the A.B. degree from Wake Forest College and the Ph.D. degree from Duke University. He is the author of Alcohol, Culture,and Society, and of articles in the fields of criminology and race relations. From 1953-1956 he was chairman of the North Carolina Board of Paroles. He has been a member of the North Carolina Probation Commission since 1957 and is presently Chairman of the Commission.

The death penalty is one of the most ancient of all methods of punishments. It has been employed at some time by virtually all countries, excepting a few of those established in relatively recent years. Attacks and counterattacks have been made over the propriety of this sanction or form of punishment for the past two centuries, especially since the publication of Cesare Beccaria's essay On Crime and Punishments in 1764. Since that date the continuing dialogue on the death penalty has resulted in a considerable amount of literature on the subject, the bulk of which is of a pro or con nature. At the same time the subject has elicited the attention and study of numerous behavioral scientists and of specialists in the fields of law, criminology and penology. Recently it has been examined and evaluated by several national and international commissions and councils, including the United Kingdom's Commission on Capital Punishment, the Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, and the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.'
The writer's purpose in this investigation has been to gather certain data on the current status of the death penalty in the various countries of the world, to observe the differences in its use from country to country, and to determine whether possibly some hypotheses might be advanced and
I See Royal Commission on Capital Punishment 1949-1953 Report (London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1953); Reports of the Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons on Capital Punishment, CorporalPunishment,Lotteries (Ottawa: Queens Printer and Controller of Stationery, 1956); and Capital Punishment (New York: Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations, 1962).

tested which would explain some of those differences.2 The objective has not been that of establishing a case for or against capital punishment.
A study of this nature is confronted with several limitations. Some of the inevitable problems are these: difficulties of language and terminological difficulties, the lack of availability or even of existence of records in certain countries on some of the pertinent data, the unwillingness of governmental officials to release some requested information, and the difficulty of comparing statistical and various other data on an international level.
Data were obtained on 128 of 146 countries (largely the most populous ones) selected for this study. A one-page questionnaire was used to collect the desired information. The questionnaires were first mailed to the ambassadors to the United States of 100 countries and to the United States ambassadors to those same countries. From the responses received to those questionnaires data were obtained on 94 of the 100 countries as follows: 55 through dual responses and 39 through single responses (13 through ambassadors to the United States and 26 through the United States ambassadors).' Questionnaires were then mailed to the ministries of justice of the six countries from which no reply had been received to the first 100 requests and to 46 additional countries. To those 52 questionnaires 27 responses with some or all of the requested data were received. The writer then
2The term "country" in this study refers to territories, protectorates, etc., as well as to independent jurisdictions.
3The variations in the data in the dual responses on particular countries were negligible.

PATRICK

[Vol. 56

1-0 04 0

H0z0

0

00

z0 %0 :2,0,z

Z0 -~

~~

7 -: 0

d

z00 Z, ~0 z0 z000zz Z0 ::H0z z0 z '

-t

0

0 " '

'cl U~

5

o ~'c t

~cd

c>~t 00 00 00 -- - -

-4

0=01000

0000

00 00 '0

'0

00.-

-

-r eq=.

0

0

o

0

to

to

go

r_

O

00,>r~o

J0.-00

00

00

00 0 .

o

o

o

0

0

0

c0d0 00 0.0: 0V 00

000 0

0

~ 0~~~c

.--

cdrc~

~ 0

00

" 0

'0

'0

0O

0 0

0

t9000
ro.

0000m

00

~

00

00~0

ri

c-ic-i

-i

U0- ~

'

c-in

0

01

0Z0 0

0 0

0

0

000

-8;!4.0

0 z-

0.0

0 00

00

00

-zzz

H Z

~ 1 >f

0

00

C0

30

00

00

E0i

'0o '

c0

0

r.0.

ca =

C,0

to-t

0d:3=$

e2d.-l~ 0P

-. -

t 0

Q0

pq pq Aoc m U U

.

1965]

THE STATUS OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

0

0

0

z

z z

0
to 00
0

zo
0
IZ3C co02
0

0

00

Z, Z ZZ

))

)

C

0

0

0.2

o

0

00 o

0

0 0

0 0

z2 z2zZ >4

~ ~ 0

o

0

Wi)

co02

mo Z

z00

z 0

cd

C) 1)

z0 z0 00

C)O

:R z

o~%

0o 0

c-I

'0 k.:

o

.6

oo0v.

cli

.

C)c) o,5

0.0

0.

w)

0 z cd

0 z0

z

z:2

w.

Om

0

00
ca
0

cf-

E-

0 UZ4- 0

U0 L0 )UZ 00 .Agd A A Wz 0 0 0)

0d

C%

0
Cl 8w 0
00 .
CO 0 0 d
C) 08 -f0
0 ~

0i 0) I t
cd. 0

~ o
A

0

o2C.0O

u..-

IV >.~ .0 Ocd

-Q)) 00u

00

0 ~

~

<0

-':

C)) >4 t z

r-~P000

PATRICK

[Vol. 56

00

0 0

::,Z ZZ

00 o
ZZZ

)C

a 0

H>q

C)

0

0

0

00

>zz

z Z >:4 z

P0 uV

0)

0 0

.1

00

u)

0C)

u

00

00

u

u

0 0

0

00 '00
_

r

to

to

to -

-

1

0 0

0

Zd
0 0

0

r,0

8.0
Z ~

Ct)).

C)

z

z0 0 z0 z 0 z

z00

000 '000

00 00

clCl

1.3

00

lC.

'0 H

6E1v

to'
Z r

E F

00

)

Ccq0

z

Ot

HP

0 00

0

00

a-m) o' f

0' Q

4

o

ap,"

0 '00 w Q0

0

"a

'0 0-

CI 0
C) 0

0~ 00 S-S S-~

C)~ S-S I-S

0

0

C-

0

19651

THE STATUS OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

z0~0zz0 2 0 z 0 zz0 zz00z00 z z

0

0

z>

z00z

z0

0 0

'4.

0.

Z )

u)

o)

o4)4

C-) C'uu0q0Z

0.2' o0

0

.

4))

0000 00 1- 10 - l 00 0 0 r- 0

0

0 %

z

0

z0

to)

a

T

0~. s 0

0
Wz

401

zo U 0 n0 0 U)E 0 z) 0 zn 0 zq0

z0

No Go
0'

4) 0

o&
-l oo
oo
oo
cl)

'.
1o0cE-

o 2
0

0
U) ocC')
P4 0

00

0

ZZ Z

0
z z

0 ~zZ20Z0

0

0

ZZ

~

4)

00

0 40d

'4)

4

0

00

0 z

0

4o

0 0

bo0 *~0 4)

09)

Z 4

,0

al

W0 O

WO

w

x; - d

4

0

0

4
,,

PA TRICK
2:
0 0 0 00 0
z >qZ ZZ z zz zzz

[Vol. 56
zz, zz00zz

00

00000

~

~ ~ ~ ~ am

oto

t

ot

tot~ to0 to0- b0 '0O

cttoo =1

bo o

-

- 0 t to 0 o t,

o 0

00

1c

0

U0Ri 0

0

000

ca

I

0 ot t
00

~ 'oo

II

In

00

U-

0

00

r

co

o

00

d 0,0 >~

o0

>q

>

g

o
.9:o

-

00') 000t,

o>q'

zc

0 0

h H

z

cdU CIn

cd

t o

o

CI d

z~~~~~~~C

z o

- ,P

P .

p

0

=10

'I

C-.t:

P4 0cn

1965]

THE STATUS OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

z0 ~Enz0 z00z z0 z0

Z0z,o zo ZZ'00 z z0o

0 0.2.2
0

~

0

0

--

puu

00 00 00 0

00

c, 00 0 00 00 00 0X

*00

0 - 0 -0 =-d 0

ra.-

c= d

-

00

A0 l

00

0-0- "

o

00 0 0 s C, r.

0 es '21

00.i

04

0 0

0

0

0 q 0

0

000

*l 100 0O

00

o

zd

.

00

0

)

)

0-

0

Cl

00

00

-

C-4

2

zzzzC

-

41)

00

0d

0

H

-~

N

0

0%

a

00

o~ 0o~

U)

to En U) EnU)

U

0

n

cn(

003

00

Cl

00 rCl
En
o

=0 00
al w4~ 00p
U)0 0
.0
0

0
0 -

0

d

0

U

0

r.

0 cac

.0

-ow 2

2

00. 0)

E.'

., o-S,.. o

z >i

O0.

-4

-w

'0

0O

0

0

A r-00
=

-~

0.

00

bob

t 0

d

.0s

4.)4

~0U)U)U)

PATPRCK

0 ~0,.2z

W

0

00

-4

00 00

C11 '-

to0 r (

0

0

0

0 40
00
00

0

-

cd

-4 0 0)

00

~ .2

0

Cd

0

0

S CL

0

0400 E

0
z

C1 0

00
0
00

0. 00

00

10 000

0
z
00 0% 0

C0000

~0 -
0;t0)
,40

Z0

40

4.4

z04

0~1

0

a)

W0

>1

H z 0> q

0 0 0

0D

J

0

0

'0

C0IS '0

0

-

.

0 0

0

d

4

0

0

0

to

0

4-

0

0

c

0

o

.2

-4

>4.-

0 a 00

0

(I .

-

N4

0

0

.0

C

d5

,

Zto4- 0

00 to~>~

[Vol. 56

THE STATUS OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

secured information on four non-responding countries by visits to their embassies in Washington, D.C., and on three countries by information obtained through the Library of Congress. A summary of the data on capital punishment gathered from the 128 countries is shown in Tables I and II.
CoUNTRIEs WrrH AND CoUNnus WIToUT
THE DEATH PENALTY
It is virtually impossible to divide all the countries of the world into two groups-those having the death penalty and those not having the death penalty. A number of problems are encountered in attempting to assign many countries to one or the other category. For example, the question must be approached from the viewpoint of both the provisions found in the law and the actual practice of the various jurisdictions. There are countries that are abolitionist de jure while on the other hand there are countries that are abolitionist de facto. Tabulating those that are known to be completely abolitionist de jure presents no difficulties. In 1962, as shown in Table III, there were eighteen such countries as well as the Federal Government and twenty-five of twenty-nine states of Mexico, one state (Queensland) in Australia, and five states (Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, Minnesota, and Wisconsin) of the United States. 4
Although having the provision for capital punishment the small country of Liechtenstein has not had an execution since 1798. Thus there is no doubt that some countries may be categorized as having abolished the death penalty defacto. However, establishing criteria for determining which countries should be listed as having abolished capital punishment de facto involves a number of significant questions. Some of the questions that must be considered are the following: What about countries that occasionally sentence persons to death and then subsequently commute their sentences? Is it possible that they reason that retaining the legal provision and passing the sentence of death without intending to execute it may have some salutary effect? In such situations are some of the significant elements of the capital punishment complex retained? If such is not the case then why have the death penalty laws not been repealed where no one is actually executed? It is hardly conceivable that such important and dramatic statutes could have been overlooked. Or, may it be reasoned that some countries retain the
Michigan became completely abolitionist in 1963.

provision for the death sentence with the idea of possibly using it should some most heinous crime be perpetrated? Also, how much time without an execution must elapse before a country may appropriately be designated as having abolition de facto? Except for what Sellin calls one "accident" after World War II, Belgium has not had an execution since 1867. 5 However, occasional death sentences are pronounced in Belgium, but they are customarily commuted to life sentences. Thirty-six of eithty-nine countries with capital punishment reported thay had no executions for the five-year period 1958-1962. Also during that period there were no executions in the United States by the Federal Government, the District of Columbia and nine states. May all, any, or none of these countries and jurisdictions be regarded as having abolition de facto? Because of the problems involved in definition the author has not attempted to list those countries that have abolished the death penalty in practice.
As shown in Table IV, there are thirteen countries and two states of the United States that have legally limited the use of the death penalty. They provide the penalty only for unusual crimes such as treason, espionage, and murder of the chief of state, or crimes committed under unusual circumstances such as wartime. Most of these countries have frequently been designated as not having capital punishment. The author of this study does not list any country as having abolition if it has any provision for the death sentence.
CRum PUNISHABLE BY DEATH
In striking contrast to earlier times, only a small number of crimes may now carry the death penalty in the various countries of the world. At some periods in the past the number of capital crimes was virtually limitless, but at present the average number is about six in countries having the death penalty. In about fifty percent of the countries four or fewer crimes are so defined. For example, in Great Britain today, only four crimes (murder, treason, piracy with violence, and arson in H. M. dockyards and ships) are punishable by death, as compared with over 200 in the eighteenth century. Also, although the aggregate of capital crimes in all countries of the modern world is large it does not compare with the number that obtained in single countries in the past. As shown in Table H, there are 109 crimes that may carry
5SELL N, Tim DEATH PENALTY 20 (1959).

Preparing to load PDF file. please wait...

0 of 0
100%
The Status of Capital Punishment: A World Perspective