remorse-detectingremorsepaper.doc

19 this raises the question of whether there are

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19. This raises the question of whether there are certain deeds that are defined by a community or by the court acting in behalf of the community as unforgiveable. Moreover, who is entitled to designate an act as forgiveable or unforgiveable such that no demonstration or remorse can credit the person as a morally worthy individual? In this light, see Gitta Sereny’s Albert Speer: His Battle With Truth ( 1995) which can be interpreted as an exhaustive investigation into whether this most penitent member of Hitler’s inner circle felt genuine remorse for his participation in the Holocaust. It may be that if an act is defined as exceeding the boundaries of what can be redeemed through remorse, then whatever remorse is expressed will not be validated. Also, see Karla Fae Tucker’s
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recent unsuccessful attempt to obtain a reprieve from the death penalty after having her demonstrations of remorse validated by influential public figures as well as by some members of the families of her victims- see Lowry( 1992) and Campbell(Feb. 3, 1998.) 20. For example, consider the response of a woman who was convicted for attempted murder of a doctor outside a clinic that was performing abortions when told by the judge “You didn’t do wrong? You did wrong.” She replied- “They said that about Jesus.” (“11 Years for Woman in Abortion Doctor’s Killing,” April 27, 1994) Or the comment issued by a Chinese court in sentencing a dissident to seven years in prison- “He has expressed no remorse for his crimes.”(Wong, Jan. 28, 1991.) Or the dilemma that is posed when someone is acting in accordance with cultural values but contrary to the expectations of criminal law(Cultural Defense in the Criminal Law, 1986.) But perhaps the most agonizing dilemma arises among persons who have been wrongfully convicted and who must choose between the benefits of showing remorse, on the one hand, and the costs of admitting guilt and abandoning the prospect of vindication, pardon, or compensation, on the other. The judicial construction of the remorseless offender tends to collapse principled disregard of the law, claims of innocence, and moral indifference into a single category of unconscionability.
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REFERENCES Alexander, Jeffrey C., ed. 1988. Durkheimian sociology: cultural studies. Cambridge: Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bordens, K.S. and John Bassett. 1985. “The Plea Bargaining Process From the Defendant’s Perspective: A Field Investigation.” Basic and Applied Social Psychology 6: 93-110. Bush, E. 1985. “The Questionable Value of the Not Guilty Plea in Determining Lack of Remorse for the Purpose of Sentence Recommendation.” Suffolk University Law Review, 19:202-210. Campbell, M. Feb. 3, 1998. “Reprieve unlikely for female death-row inmate.” Globe and Mail, A17. Canadian Press. July 11, 1998. “Accused making gang signs, lawyer says.” Globe and Mail, A5.
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