skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 114999 Find in a Library
Title: Rejoinder to Bedau's Comments
Journal: Wayne Law Review  Volume:33  Issue:4  Dated:(Summer 1987)  Pages:1435-1438
Author(s): E van den Haag
Date Published: 1987
Page Count: 4
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper responds to Bedau's critique of the author's essay that questioned whether a legal punishment is unjust to the criminal if it is disproportionate to and goes beyond what the crime morally deserves.
Abstract: The author concluded that although unjust to the crime, an excessive legal punishment is not unjust to the criminal, who, by committing the crime, volunteered to assume the risk of suffering the excessive punishment. However, Bedau did not address the arguments raised in the author's essay. Instead, he brought up unrelated cases and incorrectly suggested that the author was concerned with sentencing disparities. He also presented four hypothetical cases. One case involves a pardon of one of two offenders sentenced to the same punishment, one involving sentencing disparity based on a fair lottery, one involving sentencing disparity based on race, and one assuming a general pattern of discrimination. However, Bedau's discussion reflects a persistent and inappropriate fusion of the concepts of justice and equality. These concepts are distinct, in that equal sentences need not be just, and unequal sentences do not show which defendant was sentenced unjustly. For the previous papers, see NCJ 114997-98.
Main Term(s): Punishment
Index Term(s): Criminal responsibility; Decisionmaking; Sentencing disparity
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.