Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Guilty Acts, Guilty Minds$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Stephen P. Garvey

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190924324

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190924324.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 05 December 2021



(p.304) Conclusion
Guilty Acts, Guilty Minds

Stephen P. Garvey

Oxford University Press

This concluding chapter reflects on what has gone before. The idea that a democratic state’s reason for being is to authoritatively resolve disagreements among free and equal citizens over the demands of justice suggests that peace, not justice, is the first virtue of social institutions, including the institutions through which the state imposes punishment. It then ponders, in light of the actus reus and mens rea requirements, the legitimacy of state punishment as currently administered in the various jurisdictions of the United States. Judged only in terms of the actus reus and mens rea requirements, it seems those jurisdictions earn passing grades. Existing rules and doctrines, enacted in the exercise of democratic authority, appear to keep the state’s power to ascribe guilt largely within the bounds of legitimacy. One might nonetheless think those jurisdictions illegitimately criminalize forms of conduct they have no authority to criminalize, or that they illegitimately impose punishments so severe as to exceed their authority. These questions are left for others to address.

Keywords:   criminal justice, peace, legitimacy, actus reus, mens rea

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .