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This comment responds to an essay by Jeffrie Murphy, which powerfully notes the limitations and dangers of using remorse and apology as metrics for punishment. But the state is more justified in teaching lessons than Murphy suggests, and retributivism ought to make more room for victim vindication and satisfaction. Gauging sincerity, while difficult, is not impossible. In the end, Murphy offers strong reasons to be cautious. But a humane society ought to be more willing to take chances and, having punished, to forgive. The essay by Jeffrie Murphy to which this comment responds, as well as other authors' comments on this essay and the author's reply to those comments, can be found at


Remorse, apology, forgiveness, mercy, clemency, pardon, parole, sentencing, criminal procedure, criminal justice

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Criminal Law Conversations

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In Paul H. Robinson et al. (eds.), Criminal Law Conversations 196-198 (2009)