Against Capital Punishment received an Essential rating from Choice.
“Yost…has written a brilliant analysis of philosophical arguments for and against the death penalty. Surveying hundreds of scholarly articles and works about capital punishment, the author carefully documents the inadequacies of pro–death penalty reasoning used by philosophers from Immanuel Kant to the present. Yost covers political theories, philosophical arguments, and legal justifications, surveying issues such as deterrence, irrevocability, cost/benefit balance, inadequacy of attorneys, and the inherent fallibility of the American criminal justice system. Most important, he identifies a serious paradigm shift toward abolition of the death penalty based on three notions: the justice system inevitably makes mistakes; William Blackstone’s axiom (discussed in chapter 4) that it is better that ten guilty defendants escape rather than one innocent person suffer; and over-punishing those charged with criminal acts is worse than under-punishing them. The modern movement to abolish capital punishment seems destined to prevail as represented by the 2020 Colorado vote to abolish it, leaving fewer than 30 states still authorizing this rarely used punishment. This is a seminal, comprehensive treatment of the capital punishment.”