Death Penalty on Trial: A Handbook with Cases, Laws, and Documents

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Death Penalty on Trial: A Handbook with Cases, Laws, and Documents sifts through the rhetoric, politics, and emotion that characterize one of the most highly discussed, yet least understood issues facing the United States today. Placing the death penalty in a historical perspective with an emphasis on the last 50 years, this case-driven volume explains the legal theory that has perpetuated it and the judicial reasoning, both pro and con, behind such landmark Supreme Court cases as Furman v. Georgia and The United States of America v. Alan Quinones.

From the first Massachusetts Bay Colony execution and the inventions of the electric chair and gas chamber to DNA testing of inmates, readers will learn how and why capital punishment continues to be so controversial.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Sharp, informative, well organized, and well documented, this would be an asset to any collection."


Library Journal

"A useful source for public and academic libraries."


American Reference Books Annual

Library Journal
Once used routinely as a punishment for all capital crimes, the death penalty has been debated for over 200 years. Is it cruel and unusual punishment that should be automatically prohibited by the Constitution? In this volume in the publisher's "On Trial" series the death penalty is put on trial. Gershman (history & legal studies, Nova Southeastern Univ., Fort Lauderdale) introduces the issues, events, and participants associated with the legal controversies, admitting that his personal feelings wavered back and forth while writing the book.The first four chapters give a narrative history of the death penalty from Colonial days to Furman v. Georgia, which put the capital punishment on hiatus in 1972, to Gregg v. Georgia, which reinstated it in 1976. Gershman describes in detail the myriad court decisions that have had an impact on U.S. death penalty laws. The final part of the book provides selective supplementary materials, including primary source excerpts (court opinions, interviews, newspaper accounts), a glossary, an A-to-Z list of individuals, cases, laws and related subjects, and an annotated bibliography. No final verdict is reached, not because of the author's wavering, but because the series is written to explore topics, not to take a stand on them. Bottom Line Sharp, informative, well organized, and well documented, this would be an asset to any collection. It is also available as an eBook [eBook ISBN 1-85109-611-6. $60].-Frances Sandiford, formerly with Green Haven Correctional Facility Lib., Stormville, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781851096060
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/15/2005
  • Series: On Trial Series
  • Pages: 265
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Introduction 3
2 Historical background 15
3 Cases 43
4 Impact and legacy 83
Documents 107
O'Neil v. Vermont (1892) 107
Weems v. United States (1910) 108
Louisiana v. Resweber (1947) 111
Trop v. Dulles (1958) 114
Rudolph v. Alabama (1963) 117
Witherspoon v. Illinois (1968) 118
McGautha v. California (1970) 121
Furman v. Georgia (1972) 125
Gregg v. Georgia (1976) 143
Woodson v. North Carolina (1976) 153
Coker v. Georgia (1977) 158
Lockett v. Ohio (1978) 163
Godfrey v. Georgia (1980) 167
Enmund v. Florida (1982) 171
Ford v. Wainwright (1986) 175
McCleskey v. Kemp (1987) 178
Thompson v. Oklahoma (1988) 186
Penry v. Lynaugh (1989) 193
Stanford v. Kentucky (1989) 198
Blystone v. Pennsylvania (1990) 204
Buchanan v. Angelone (1998) 207
Atkins v. Virginia (2002) 210
In Re Kevin Nigel Stanford (2002) 217
Ring v. Arizona (2002) 219
United States of America v. Alan Quinones (2002) 222
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