If Dum fires a pistol at his victim and misses, while Dee shoots on target and kills, should Dum be punished as severely as Dee? This essay supports current legal practices that punish unsuccessful criminal attempts less severely than successful criminal attempts. Joel Feinberg and other legal scholars have argued for legal reform that punishes equivalent criminal attempts equally, regardless of their ultimate success. This essay argues that the case for reform does not succeed. Legal reform would punish criminal agents according to factors beyond their control and is therefore subject to the same criticisms of unfairness it attributes to current practices. Moreover, legal reform undermines democratic values and is therefore not practically desirable.
How to Cite:
Mayer, A., 2014. Should failed attempted crimes be punished less severely than successful attempted crimes?. Rerum Causae, 6(2), pp.157–165.