Why does the United States continue to employ the death penalty when fifty other developed democracies have abolished it? Why does capital punishment become more problematic each year? How can the death penalty conflict be resolved? In The Contradictions of American Capital Punishment, Frank Zimring reveals that the seemingly insoluble turmoil surrounding the death penalty reflects a deep and long-standing division in American values, a division that he predicts will soon bring about the end of capital punishment in our country. On the one hand, execution would seem to violate our nation's highest legal principles of fairness and due process. It sets us increasingly apart from our allies and indeed is regarded by European nations as a barbaric and particularly egregious form of American exceptionalism. On the other hand, the death penalty represents a deeply held American belief in violent social justice that sees the hangman as an agent of local control and safeguard of community values. Zimring uncovers the most troubling symptom of this attraction to vigilante justice in the lynch mob. He shows that the great majority of executions in recent decades have occurred in precisely those Southern states where lynchings were most common a hundred years ago. It is this legacy, Zimring suggests, that constitutes both the distinctive appeal of the death penalty in the United States and one of the most compelling reasons for abolishing it. Impeccably researched and engagingly written, Contradictions in American Capital Punishment casts a clear new light on America's long and troubled embrace of the death penalty.
This revised and updated second edition is an overview of capital punishment. It offers an examination of the death penalty, supported by statistics and Supreme Court cases, and followed by pro and con discussions. The book addresses every major issue relating to the death penalty including deterrence, racial impact, arbitrariness, its use on special populations, and methods of execution. This text challenges students to evaluate their beliefs and assumptions on each of the various issues surrounding this controversial subject. Each chapter begins with a primer of the issue to be discussed, followed by the data and critical documents necessary to make an educated assessment, and concludes with essays that offer differing viewpoints by some of the best minds in the country. New material added to the second edition includes: updated data on deterrence ; new data and articles on brutalization and cost ; new cases and articles on the death penalty for juveniles ; new case and articles on the death penalty for raping a child ; and a new chapter on methods of execution.
This riveting and enlightening narrative unfolds on the night of August 16, 1996, with the brutal and senseless murder of Eric Nesbitt, a young man stationed at Langley Air Force Base, at the hands of 18-year-old Daryl Atkins. Over the course of more than a decade, Atkins’s case has bounced between the lowest and the highest levels of the judicial system. Found guilty and then sentenced to death in 1998 for Nesbitt’s murder, the Atkins case was then taken up in 2002 by the U.S. Supreme Court. The issue before the justices: given Daryl Atkins’s mental retardation, would his execution constitute cruel and unusual punishment, in violation of the Eighth Amendment? A 6–3 vote said yes. Daryl Atkins’s situation was far from being resolved though. Prosecutors claimed that Atkins failed to meet the statutory definition of mental retardation and reinstituted procedures to carry out his death sentence. Back in circuit court, the jury returned its verdict: Daryl Atkins was not retarded. Atkins’s attorneys promptly filed a notice of appeal, and the case continues today. Drawing on interviews with key participants; direct observation of the hearings; and close examination of court documents, transcripts, and press accounts, Thomas G. Walker provides readers with a rare view of the entire judicial process. Never losing sight of the stakes in a death penalty case, he explains each step in Atkins’s legal journey from the interactions of local law enforcement, to the decision-making process of the state prosecutor, to the Supreme Court’s ruling, and beyond. Walker sheds light on how legal institutions and procedures work in real life—and how they are all interrelated—to help students better understand constitutional issues, the courts, and the criminal justice system. Throughout, Walker also addresses how disability, race, and other key demographic and social issues affect the case and society’s views on the death penalty.
Since the first edition of this popular textbook appeared in 1984, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms has transformed the role of the courts in Canadian politics. The book introduces students to issues raised by the new political role of Canadian judges. The revised and updated third edition features new introductions and new readings that deal with current issues in the realm of Canadian law and politics.
Release on 2012-11-27 | by Jacqueline R. Braitman,Gerald F. Uelmen
A Life at the Center of California Politics and Justice
Author: Jacqueline R. Braitman,Gerald F. Uelmen
Category: Social Science
"This is the first biography of Stanley Mosk (1912-2001). It recounts Mosk's previously unexplored pre-Court years where he quickly rose as a leader among Los Angeles reformers, becoming the executive secretary of California governor Culbert Olson and then gaining wide popularity during his 16 years as a superior court judge"--Provided by publisher.
Release on 2013-06-29 | by Ernest Van den Haag,John Phillips Conrad
Author: Ernest Van den Haag,John Phillips Conrad
Pubpsher: Springer Science & Business Media
Category: Social Science
From 1965 until 1980, there was a virtual moratorium on executions for capital offenses in the United States. This was due primarily to protracted legal proceedings challenging the death penalty on constitutional grounds. After much Sturm und Drang, the Supreme Court of the United States, by a divided vote, finally decided that "the death penalty does not invariably violate the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause of the Eighth Amendment." The Court's decisions, however, do not moot the controversy about the death penalty or render this excellent book irrelevant. The ball is now in the court of the Legislature and the Executive. Leg islatures, federal and state, can impose or abolish the death penalty, within the guidelines prescribed by the Supreme Court. A Chief Executive can commute a death sentence. And even the Supreme Court can change its mind, as it has done on many occasions and did, with respect to various aspects of the death penalty itself, durlog the moratorium period. Also, the people can change their minds. Some time ago, a majority, according to reliable polls, favored abolition. Today, a substantial majority favors imposition of the death penalty. The pendulum can swing again, as it has done in the past.
"How to inform the judicial mind," Justice Frankfurter remarked during the school desegregation cases, "is one of the most complicated problems." Social research is a potential source of such information. Indeed, in the 1960s and 1970s, with activist courts at the forefront of social reform, the field of law and social science came of age. But for all the recent activity and scholarship in this area, few books have attempted to create an intellectual framework, a systematic introduction to applied social-legal research. Social Research in the Judicial Process addresses this need for a broader picture. Designed for use by both law students and social science students, it constructs a conceptual bridge between social research (the realm of social facts) and judicial decision making (the realm of social values). Its unique casebook format weaves together judicial opinions, empirical studies, and original text. It is a process-oriented book that teaches skills and perspectives, cultivating an informed sensitivity to the use and misuse of psychology, social psychology, and sociology in apellate and trial adjudication. Among the social-legal topics explored are school desegregation, capital punishment, jury impartiality, and eyewitness identification. This casebook is remarkable for its scope, its accessibility, and the intelligence of its conceptual integration. It provides the kind of interdisciplinary teaching framework that should eventually help lawyers to make knowledgeable use of social research, and social scientists to conduct useful research within a legally sophisticated context.