America's Experiment with Capital Punishment: Reflections on the Past, Present, and Future of the Ultimate Penal Sanction / Edition 2

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The third edition of America's Experiment with Capital Punishment has been expanded and updated to include several important developments since the publication of the second edition in 2003. New evidence is presented about the incidence of wrongful convictions, racial and geographical disparities in capital charging and sentencing practices, deterrence, trends in public opinion, jury decision-making, how the capital punishment process affects the families of both murder victims and offenders, the conditions and consequences of death row incarceration, the financial costs of capital punishment, executive clemency, and many other issues. Renewed attention is given to execution methods (focusing on lethal injection), capital punishment for persons with intellectual disabilities, and other matters of significance. Legal developments also are chronicled, including trends in the Supreme Court's interpretation and application of the ''evolving standards of decency'' and related Eighth Amendment principles, the prohibition against executing juvenile offenders, significant changes in federal habeas corpus policies, and the repeal of death-penalty statutes in several states. New chapters have been added to address the historical evolution of capital punishment (John Bessler), and the death penalty for persons with mental disabilities (Christopher Slobogin). Several additional authors have joined to produce the updated chapters.

The book's twenty-six chapters critically analyze the history, politics, law, empirical evidence, and principled underpinnings of the contemporary debate about the death penalty in America. They also assess likely future trends in capital punishment law and practice. Written by the country's leading legal and social science scholars, the chapters collectively represent the most comprehensive and illuminating treatment of death penalty issues presently available in a single volume.

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Editorial Reviews

Comprises 21 essays which analyze changes in capital punishment and its administration over the last 25 years and explores issues relevant to the present and future of the death penalty in America. The essays address capital punishment public opinion, law and politics, the justice of the death penalty, the utility of the capital sanction, jury decision making, defense counsel, race discrimination, mitigation theory, cost, habeas corpus, victims, the role of mental health professionals, and executive clemency. No index. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780890890646
  • Publisher: Carolina Academic Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/2003
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 824
  • Product dimensions: 8.92 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 1.43 (d)

Meet the Author

James R. Acker is a Distinguished Teaching Professor in the School of Criminal Justice at the University at Albany, SUNY. Robert Bohm is a Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice and Legal Studies at University of Central Florida. Charles Lanier is President of Lanier Consulting & Research, Inc. Among other things, Lanier conducts mitigation investigations in death penalty cases, on both the state and federal levels.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: America's Experiment with Capital Punishment 5
Ch. 1 American Death Penalty Opinion: Past, Present, and Future 25
Ch. 2 Judicial Developments in Capital Punishment Law 47
Ch. 3 Beyond Human Ability? The Rise and Fall of Death Penalty Legislation 77
Ch. 4 The Politics of Capital Punishment: The Sacrifice of Fairness for Executions 117
Ch. 5 Justice, Deterrence, and the Death Penalty 139
Ch. 6 Is Capital Punishment an Effective Deterrent for Murder? An Examination of Social Science Research 157
Ch. 7 Future Dangerousness and Incapacitation 183
Ch. 8 Executing Women, Children, and the Retarded: Second Class Citizens in Capital Punishment 201
Ch. 9 The Execution of the Innocent 223
Ch. 10 Closing the Circle: The Illusion of Lawyers for People Litigating for Their Lives at the Fin de Siecle 245
Ch. 11 Stacking the Deck for Guilt and Death: The Failure of Death Qualification to Ensure Impartiality 285
Ch. 12 Choosing Life or Death: Sentencing Dynamics in Capital Cases 309
Ch. 13 Mitigation and the Study of Lives: On the Roots of Violent Criminality and the Nature of Capital Justice 351
Ch. 14 Race Discrimination and the Death Penalty: An Empirical and Legal Overview 385
Ch. 15 Federal Habeas Corpus in Capital Cases 417
Ch. 16 The Economic Costs of Capital Punishment: Past, Present, and Future 437
Ch. 17 "Above All, Do No Harm": The Role of Health and Mental Health Professionals in the Capital Punishment Process 461
Ch. 18 The Impact of the Death Penalty on the Families of Homicide Victims and of Condemned Prisoners 477
Ch. 19 Life Under Sentence of Death: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives 507
Ch. 20 The Evolving Role of Clemency in Capital Cases 531
Ch. 21 Execution and the Forgotten Eighth Amendment 547
Biographies 579
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