Capital punishment on trial

Author: David M. Oshinsky
Publisher: Univ Pr of Kansas
ISBN:
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In his first book since the Pulitzer Prize--winning Polio: An American Story, renowned historian David Oshinsky takes a new and closer look at the Supreme Court's controversial and much-debated stances on capital punishment--in the landmark case of Furman v. Georgia. Career criminal William Furman shot and killed a homeowner during a 1967 burglary in Savannah, Georgia. Because it was a "black-on-white" crime in the racially troubled South, it also was an open-and-shut case. The trial took less than a day, and the nearly all-white jury rendered a death sentence. Aided by the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund, Furman's African-American attorney, Bobby Mayfield, doggedly appealed the verdict all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which in 1972 overturned Furman's sentence by a narrow 5--4 vote, ruling that Georgia's capital punishment statute, and by implication all other state death-penalty laws, was so arbitrary and capricious as to violate the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against "cruel and unusual punishment." Furman effectively, if temporarily, halted capital punishment in the United States. Every death row inmate across the nation was resentenced to life in prison. The decision, however, did not rule the death penalty per se to be unconstitutional; rather, it struck down the laws that currently governed its application, leaving the states free to devise new ones that the Court might find acceptable. And this is exactly what happened. In the coming years, the Supreme Court would uphold an avalanche of state legislation endorsing the death penalty. Capital punishment would return stronger than ever, with many more defendants sentenced to death and eventually executed. Oshinsky demonstrates the troubling roles played by race and class and region in capital punishment. And he concludes by considering the most recent Supreme Court death-penalty cases involving minors and the mentally ill, as well as the impact of international opinion. Compact and engaging, Oshinsky's masterful study reflects a gift for empathy, an eye for the telling anecdote and portrait, and a talent for clarifying the complex and often confusing legal issues surrounding capital punishment.

The Social History of Crime and Punishment in America

Author: Wilbur R. Miller
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISBN: 1483305937
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Several encyclopedias overview the contemporary system of criminal justice in America, but full understanding of current social problems and contemporary strategies to deal with them can come only with clear appreciation of the historical underpinnings of those problems. Thus, this five-volume work surveys the history and philosophy of crime, punishment, and criminal justice institutions in America from colonial times to the present. It covers the whole of the criminal justice system, from crimes, law enforcement and policing, to courts, corrections and human services. Among other things, this encyclopedia: explicates philosophical foundations underpinning our system of justice; charts changing patterns in criminal activity and subsequent effects on legal responses; identifies major periods in the development of our system of criminal justice; and explores in the first four volumes - supplemented by a fifth volume containing annotated primary documents - evolving debates and conflicts on how best to address issues of crime and punishment. Its signed entries in the first four volumes--supplemented by a fifth volume containing annotated primary documents--provide the historical context for students to better understand contemporary criminological debates and the contemporary shape of the U.S. system of law and justice.

Flag burning and free speech

Author: Robert Justin Goldstein
Publisher: Univ Pr of Kansas
ISBN:
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When Gregory Lee Johnson burned an American flag as part of a political protest, he was convicted for flag desecration under Texas law. But the Supreme Court, by a contentious 5 to margin, overturned that conviction, claiming that Johnson's action constituted symbolic -- and thus protected -- speech. Heated debate continues to swirl around that controversial decision, both hailed as a victory for free speech advocates and reviled as an abomination that erodes the patriotic foundations of American democracy. Such passionate yet contradictory views are at the heart of this landmark case. Book jacket.

The Death Penalty in America

Author: Hugo Adam Bedau
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190284080
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InThe Death Penalty in America: Current Controversies, Hugo Adam Bedau, one of our preeminent scholars on the subject,provides a comprehensive sourcebook on the death penalty, making the process of informed consideration not only possible but fascinating as well. No mere revision of the third edition of The Death Penalty in America--which the New York Times praised as "the most complete, well-edited and comprehensive collection of readings on the pros and cons of the death penalty"--this volume brings together an entirely new selection of 40 essays and includes updated statistical and research data, recent Supreme Court decisions, and the best current contributions to the debate over capital punishment. From the status of the death penalty worldwide to current attitudes of Americans toward convicted killers, from legal arguments challenging the constitutionality of the death penalty to moral arguments enlisting the New Testament in support of it, from controversies over the role of race and class in the judicial system to proposals to televise executions, Bedau gathers readings that explore all the most compelling aspects of this most compelling issue.

Religion and the Death Penalty

Author: Erik Owens
Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing
ISBN: 9780802821720
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Foreword by Jean Bethke Elshtain This important book is sure to foster informed public discussion about the death penalty by deepening readers' understanding of how religious beliefs and perspectives shape thiscontentious issue. Featuring a fair, balanced appraisal of its topic, Religion and the Death Penalty brings thoughtful religious reflection to bear on current challenges facing thecapital justice system. One look at the list of contributors reveals the significance of this book. Here are recognized leaders from the academy, government, and public life who also represent a wide range offaith commitments, including Jewish, Christian, and Muslim. Like many people of faith and goodwill, the authors disagree with one another, variously supporting retention, reform, orabolition of capital punishment. As a result, the book presents the most comprehensive and well-rounded religiously oriented discussion of the death penalty available. Contributors: Khaled Abou El Fadl Victor Anderson Jeanne Bishop J. Budziszewski John D. Carlson Mario M. Cuomo E. J. Dionne Jr. Avery Cardinal Dulles, S. J. Eric P. Elshtain Richard W. Garnett Stanley Hauerwas Frank Keating Gilbert Meilaender David Novak Erik C. Owens George H. Ryan Antonin Scalia Paul Simon Glen H. Stassen Michael L. Westmoreland-White Beth Wilkinson

Worse Than Slavery

Author: David M. Oshinsky
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781439107744
Format: PDF, Mobi
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In this sensitively told tale of suffering, brutality, and inhumanity, Worse Than Slavery is an epic history of race and punishment in the deepest South from emancipation to the civil rights era—and beyond. Immortalized in blues songs and movies like Cool Hand Luke and The Defiant Ones, Mississippi’s infamous Parchman State Penitentiary was, in the pre-civil rights south, synonymous with cruelty. Now, noted historian David Oshinsky gives us the true story of the notorious prison, drawing on police records, prison documents, folklore, blues songs, and oral history, from the days of cotton-field chain gangs to the 1960s, when Parchman was used to break the wills of civil rights workers who journeyed south on Freedom Rides.

Out of Range

Author: Mark V. Tushnet
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199813711
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Few constitutional disputes maintain as powerful a grip on the public mind as the battle over the Second Amendment. The National Rifle Association and gun-control groups struggle unceasingly over a piece of the political landscape that no candidate for the presidency--and few for Congress--can afford to ignore. But who's right? Will it ever be possible to settle the argument? In Out of Range, one of the nation's leading legal scholars takes a calm, objective look at this bitter debate. Mark V. Tushnet brings to this book a deep expertise in the Constitution, the Supreme Court, and the role of the law in American life. He breaks down the different positions on the Second Amendment, showing that it is a mistake to stereotype them. Tushnet's exploration is honest and nuanced; he finds the constitutional arguments finely balanced, which is one reason the debate has raged for so long. Along the way, he examines various experiments in public policy, from both sides, and finds little clear evidence for the practical effectiveness of any approach to gun safety and prosecution. Of course, he notes, most advocates of the right to keep and bear arms agree that it should be subject to reasonable regulation. Ultimately, Tushnet argues, our view of the Second Amendment reflects our sense of ourselves as a people. The answer to the debate will not be found in any holy writ, but in our values and our vision of the nation. This compact, incisive examination offers an honest and thoughtful guide to both sides of the argument, pointing the way to solutions that could calm, if not settle, this bitter dispute.