The Death Penalty: America's Experience with Capital Punishment / Edition 1

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This book addresses one of the most controversial issues in the criminal justice system today—the death penalty. Paternoster et al. present a balanced perspective that focuses on both the arguments for and against capital punishment. Coverage draws on legal, historical, philosophical, economic, sociological, and religious points of view. Topics include: The history of the death penalty in the United States, from the 1600s to today The changing nature of the death penalty—changes in the types of crimes that warranted the penalty, the procedures employed to put capital offenders on trial, and the methods used to impose death Constitutional/legal issues surrounding the death penalty The influence of race on the administration of the death penalty, both in the past and in the present Justifications for and against the death penalty (retribution, cost, public safety, and religious arguments) Questions about the execution of innocents, exonerated capital offenders, and flaws in the operation of the death penalty Public opinion and the death penalty The death penalty and international law and practice The future of the death penalty in America

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"All salient issues and elements of the death penalty debate are thoroughly and carefully presented. The book is comprehensive, timely, engaging, accessible, accurate, and well written."--John Cochran, University of South Florida

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195332421
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 7/2/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 362
  • Sales rank: 511,517
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Raymond Paternoster is Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice and Director of the Office of Academic Computing Services at the University of Maryland.

Robert Brame is Associate Professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of South Carolina.

Sarah Bacon is Visiting Assistant Professor in the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida State University.

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Table of Contents

Each chapter begins with an Introduction and ends with a Chapter Summary, Discussion Questions, and Further Reading.
Part I: The Enduring Legacy of Capital Punishment in the United States
Chapter 1. Capital Punishment in the Early Period: 1608-1929
Capital Crimes and Capital Statutes in the Early Period
Characteristics of Executions in the Early Period
Changes in the Practice of the Death Penalty in the Early Period
Methods of Execution in the Early Period
Location of the Death Penalty in the Early Period
Chapter 2. Capital Punishment in the Pre-Modern Period: 1930-1967
Capital Crimes and Capital Statutes During the Premodern Period
Characteristics of Executions in the Premodern Period
Methods of Execution During the Premodern Period
Location of the Death Penalty in the Premodern Period
Chapter 3. Capital Punishment in the Modern Period: 1977-Present
Capital Crimes and Capital Statutes During the Modern Period
Characteristics of Executions in the Modern Period
Methods of Execution During the Modern Period
Location of the Death Penalty in the Modern Period
Changes in the Practice of the Death Penalty in the Modern Period
The Federal and Military Death Penalty
Part II: Legal History, Constitutional Requirements, and Common Justifications for Capital Punishment in the United States
Chapter 4. A Brief Legal History of Capital Punishment in the United States
Early Constitutional Challenges to the Method of Imposing Death
Constitutional Theories About What the Eighth Amendment Prohibits
The Death Penalty's Decline in Popularity and Challenges to Its Constitutionality
The Death Penalty is not Procedurally Flawed--The Case of McGautha v. California
The Death Penalty as Currently Administered is so Procedurally Flawed That It Constitutes Cruel and Unusual Punishment--The Case of Furman v. Georgia
Chapter 5. Constitutional Requirements for Capital Punishment in the United States
The Response to Furman: Mandatory and Guided Discretion Capital Statutes
The Execution of Special Groups--The Young, The Retarded and the Mentally Ill
Chapter 6. Common Justifications for the Death Penalty
Retribution: The Moral Argument for the Death Penalty
Cost: The Financial Argument for the Death Penalty
Incapacitation: One of the Public Safety Arguments for the Death Penalty
General Deterrence: The Other Public Safety Argument for the Death Penalty
Religious Positions for and Against the Death Penalty
Part III: The Administration of the Death Penalty: Issues of Race and Human Fallibility
Chapter 7. Race, the Law, and Punishment
The Peculiar Institution
Race and Legal Institutions After the Civil War
Chapter 8. Race and Capital Punishment
Race and Capital Punishment: 1930-1967
Evidence of Racially Disparate Treatment in the Courts
Race and Capital Punishment: 1997-Present
Post-Furman Evidence of Racial Discrimination in Capital Sentencing Before the Courts--McCleskey v. Kemp
Chapter 9. Problems in Administering the Death Penalty
The Possibly Innocent
The Exonerated
A Broken System
Part IV: What's to Come of the Death Penalty
Chapter 10. Capital Punishment in America's Future
Public Support for the Death Penalty in the United States
The Death Penalty in Other Countries
Predictions About the Future of the Death Penalty in America
What About Life Without the Possibility of Parole?

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