Guilty Freedom or Innocent Punishment?

Discussion in 'Religion & Philosophy' started by Altanzitarron, Apr 2, 2009.


Is it better to let a serial killer go free or punish an innocent person?

  1. Let the serial killer go

  2. Punish an innocent person

  1. Altanzitarron

    Altanzitarron Tamer Of The LOLzilla

    Just a random moral hypothetical thread, do you believe it is better to let a guilty man go free or to punish an innocent person?

    Punishing an innocent person immediately jumps out at me as the worst scenario, however what about in cases of serial killers? Letting a serial killer go free may mean that many more people would die?

    Despite the severity of crime, I still feel that it would be better to let a guilty man go free than to punish someone for a crime they didn't commit; but perhaps this is too vague a question so I will make it more specific.

    Is it better to let a serial killer go free or to punish an innocent person for the crimes of a serial killer?

    I think that the innocent person being punished for murders he did not commit would be worse than a serial killer escaping the system.

    Where do you stand?

  2. Impact

    Impact Registered Member V.I.P. Lifetime

    There is no sense in punishing an innocent person, so I'd say it is better to let the guilty person go free.

    In the situation you stated, then eventually the Serial Killer would slip up and be caught. If they locked up an innocent person for the crimes, and the killings continued, then it would be obvious that person was innocent.
  3. Mirage

    Mirage Administrator Staff Member V.I.P.

    Well wait, so are you asking this:

    Let the serial killer go and NOT punish an innocent person


    Punish an innocent person AND lock up the serial killer?

    Is that the question? I only ask because it could be read a few ways otherwise.
  4. Malificus

    Malificus Likes snow

    I see it like this:

    Here we have some sort of Schrodinger's man. He is currently on trial but has not collapsed into a state of innocent or guilty. This will be influenced by our decision. If he is locked in jail, he will actually be innocent of the crime. If he is released, he will in truth be guilty. Knowing this, which option do you choose?
  5. PretzelCorps

    PretzelCorps Registered Member

    Reading the question the first time through, (Mal's version) I elected for punishing the innocent person...

    As cold as that may sound, it makes sense to me --> If the guilty person is going to kill more people, it's better to have one innocent person lose their freedom, than to have many innocent people (or even one) lose their life.

    Of course, in reality, it would be because of one of two things... Either:

    1. All the evidence points to the innocent person, which means either freak chance, or stupidity on the innocent's part, or;
    2. Some wrong-doing has occurred during investigation.
  6. ysabel

    ysabel /ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5

    This is often a question that comes up when a jury deliberates (at least in the telly/movies). For me, it depends on the certainty. If you're 100% sure that it's the serial killer, then it's better to not let the SK go. But if you have doubts, then it's better to let the suspect SK go, otherwise you'd be punishing an innocent person. What's so bad about punishing an innocent person is that it's unjust. You assign him the consequences for someone else's actions. It's also inefficient because it doesn't help in looking for the real serial killer (as people have assumed the killer was already caught).
  7. Altanzitarron

    Altanzitarron Tamer Of The LOLzilla

    Mal pretty much had it spot on. Basically I mean which do you think is the bigger atrocity? A guilty man walking free or an innocent man being punished?
  8. Chaos

    Chaos Epic Gamer V.I.P. Lifetime

    Isn't that the purpose of the whole "beyond reasonable doubt" thing?

    I say lock up the innocent man. As Pretz said - better to have deprived one innocent of his freedom than deprive multiple innocent's of their lives. Besides, an innocent man has every chance of proving/being proved to be innocent - new evidence, new kills by the serial killer, etc. Freedom at the cost of life sounds pretty selfish, to me, whilst the opposite sounds worthwhile and fair. Sure, it'd be a hard bargain for the innocent man being locked up, but it'd be worth it in the long run.
  9. ysabel

    ysabel /ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5

    In theory, yes. However, I'm sure some people don't judge that way. Instead of thinking "if I have even 1% doubt, then set him free" they are rather contemplating the questions raised in this thread. "I'm not 100% sure he's guilty but would it be worse if I let him go if he were guilty, or worse if I condemn him if he were innocent."
    Chaos likes this.
  10. Nixola

    Nixola Boom Boom Pow!

    I would be more inclined to let the guilty man go free. I would hate to punish an innocent man for something he hasn't done, it would be awful. Then again looking at what Chaos said the innocent man should be able to prove that he is innocent.
    If you are innocent then you have nothing to fear.

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