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Furman V. Georgia: The Death Penalty Case

Furman V. Georgia: The Death Penalty Case

by D. J. Herda

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Denise Lockett
Organized chronologically, this scholarly study presents the issue of race and the inequitable application of the death penalty in the United States. In this treatment, the focus is not on the specific facts of the case or the guilt or innocence of the defendant, but on the broader social and political reasons for the inconsistent application of the death penalty. The text provides a brief and yet panoramic treatment of the death penalty in America, from the founders to today. Furman v. Georgia was the crystalline moment when the Supreme Court was confronted with racial disparities in the imposition of the penalty itself. Using comparisons of sentencing outcomes by race, Furman's attorneys ultimately changed the way the death penalty would be imposed. The eighth amendment "cruel and unusual" punishment argument raised in Furman is one that has since been addressed, arguably, by changes to many state laws. However, as a result of the five to four Supreme Court ruling, many states had a virtual moratorium on the death penalty for years. "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow" (the penultimate chapter) and "The Passage of Time" are helpful post-scripts that present the after-effects of this case and other major challenges to the death penalty. The book excels at displaying the variability in how laws are applied as they are tailored to suit social attitudes and ends. It also provides a compelling and clear explication of the justice system as it acts to check and balance social bias. The level of the narrative is appropriate to the young audience and the glossary is age-appropriate and helpful. There is also a useful index and chapter notes indicate resources and citation sources. There are few photographs, but those that are selected are, while chilling (electric chairs), appropriate; helpful charts illustrate the points about racial disparities in sentencing. Reviewer: Denise Lockett
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-These three well-organized series entries summarize famous Supreme Court cases in understandable, clearly written texts. Each chronological narrative provides background information, the case itself, and the long-ranging impact it has had on our society. The books simplify the complicated proceedings so that students with no prior knowledge of them can follow the decisions. Unfamiliar terminology is explained in context; glossaries of legal terms are helpful, as well. The authors present both sides of each case fairly. Good-quality, black-and-white photographs of key players bring life to the texts. Worthwhile additions as adjuncts to social-studies units and as resources for reports.-Sandra L. Doggett, Linganore High School, Frederick, MD

Product Details

Enslow Publishers, Incorporated
Publication date:
Landmark Supreme Court Cases, Gold Edition Series
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
6.88(w) x 9.52(h) x 0.43(d)
Age Range:
11 - 15 Years

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