Medium post NOV. 26

Canaan Stuart
2 min readNov 28, 2020

Instead of doing the typical medium post, I want to write my own analysis inspired by the readings themselves. For class purposes, I consider this to be a blend of type 3 and type 4 medium posts.

Mercy is a complex topic within the realm of criminal justice. On one hand, the very word justice demands punishment, while on the other hand there is a concept within criminal justice called “mitigating factors.”

Many concepts of mercy come from a biblically educated standpoint, as within Christianity and most religions there is an idea that mercy is within itself… a form of justice. Criminal justice operates in a different way, mercy does not necessarily equal justice, but it is at the same time influenced from such religious stances. Hurd brings up the fact that many believe the religious stance on mercy is one which is confused by people, and applied in places where it does not belong. I tend to follow with Hurd in believing that these views are not actually confused, and that most people generally just do not like the idea of mercy in justice. Mercy in itself must be… well, justified.

If mercy can, and should be factored in at times, we most look at the concept of mitigating factors further. Mitigating factors are factors which lessen punishment due to some kind of lack of intent by the perpetrator. To give an example of this, let’s say an old woman is driving home from church. She has no ill intent, but this poor old woman has been losing sight for the last few years. She is riding home, and suddenly she hits another car and kills the driver. When in court, they must decide how justice can be served. If this was your usual 30 year old man who hit someone, the odds are that he must serve time in prison for manslaughter. But there are mitigating factors here. This old woman was just going about her day as per usual, and if she were to go to prison she would probably die there, in a miserable final act of existence. The old woman has mitigating factors, so the court decides to take away her drivers license and fine her a great deal of money. Perhaps she even has to stay home for a few months. This, in my opinion, is a good example of mercy being used FOR justice, and being justified.