Moral innocence and the criminal law: Non-mala actions and non-culpable agents

Re'em Segev*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

According to an influential view, using the criminal law against innocent actions or agents is wrong. In this paper, I consider four related arguments against this view: a debunking argument that suggests that the intuitive appeal of this view may be due to a conflation of different ideas; a counterexamples argument that points out that there are many cases in which using the criminal law against innocent actions or agents is justified; a theoretical argument, according to which the force of the reasons for and against using the criminal law is a matter of degree and it is therefore implausible to hold that the latter always defeat the former; and an analogy argument, which holds that it is implausible to maintain that harming innocents is often justified in other contexts but (almost) never in the context of the criminal law.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)549-577
Number of pages29
JournalCambridge Law Journal
Volume79
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © Cambridge Law Journal and Contributors 2020.

Keywords

  • blame
  • mala in se
  • mala prohibita
  • moral innocence
  • non-mala
  • wrongdoing

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