Equality in Punishment

Of course every situation is different, and every criminal offender has the right, under our legal traditions, to have his or her case considered carefully and individually, even if it is for a crime committed many times before, and even by the same offender before. Nevertheless, there is a tradition of equality in the Anglo-American legal system holding that everyone ought to be treated equally – not only in their rights, but in their punishments. Unnecessarily killing a human being is one of the worst crimes imaginable and, even if the act is committed under the most sympathetic of circumstances (over-zealously defending one’s spouse from an attacker, for example), the criminal law of the United States tends to favor punishing this murder as other murders are punished, rather than letting the defended go scot free.