The Decline of the Death Penalty and the Discovery of Innocence

Author: Frank R. Baumgartner
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1139469207
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Since 1996, death sentences in America have declined by more than 60 percent, reversing a generation-long trend toward greater acceptance of capital punishment. In theory, most Americans continue to support the death penalty. But it is no longer seen as a theoretical matter. Prosecutors, judges, and juries across the country have moved in large numbers to give much greater credence to the possibility of mistakes - mistakes that in this arena are potentially fatal. The discovery of innocence, documented in this book through painstaking analyses of media coverage and with newly developed methods, has led to historic shifts in public opinion and to a sharp decline in use of the death penalty by juries across the country. A social cascade, starting with legal clinics and innocence projects, has snowballed into a national phenomenon that may spell the end of the death penalty in America.

End of Its Rope

Author: Brandon L. Garrett
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674981960
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Today, death sentences in the U.S. are as rare as lightning strikes. Brandon Garrett shows us the reasons why, and explains what the failed death penalty experiment teaches about the effect of inept lawyering, overzealous prosecution, race discrimination, wrongful convictions, and excessive punishments throughout the criminal justice system.

Deadly Justice

Author: Frank Baumgartner
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190841540
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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In 1976, the US Supreme Court ruled in Gregg v. Georgia that the death penalty was constitutional if it complied with certain specific provisions designed to ensure that it was reserved for the 'worst of the worst.' The same court had rejected the death penalty just four years before in the Furman decision because it found that the penalty had been applied in a capricious and arbitrary manner. The 1976 decision ushered in the 'modern' period of the US death penalty, setting the country on a course to execute over 1,400 inmates in the ensuing years, with over 8,000 individuals currently sentenced to die. Now, forty years after the decision, the eminent political scientist Frank Baumgartner along with a team of younger scholars (Marty Davidson, Kaneesha Johnson, Arvind Krishnamurthy, and Colin Wilson) have collaborated to assess the empirical record and provide a definitive account of how the death penalty has been implemented. Each chapter addresses a precise empirical question and provides evidence, not opinion, about whether how the modern death penalty has functioned. They decided to write the book after Justice Breyer issued a dissent in a 2015 death penalty case in which he asked for a full briefing on the constitutionality of the death penalty. In particular, they assess the extent to which the modern death penalty has met the aspirations of Gregg or continues to suffer from the flaws that caused its rejection in Furman. To answer this question, they provide the most comprehensive statistical account yet of the workings of the capital punishment system. Authoritative and pithy, the book is intended for both students in a wide variety of fields, researchers studying the topic, and--not least--the Supreme Court itself.

Making the News

Author: Amber E. Boydstun
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022606560X
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Media attention can play a profound role in whether or not officials act on a policy issue, but how policy issues make the news in the first place has remained a puzzle. Why do some issues go viral and then just as quickly fall off the radar? How is it that the media can sustain public interest for months in a complex story like negotiations over Obamacare while ignoring other important issues in favor of stories on “balloon boy?” With Making the News, Amber Boydstun offers an eye-opening look at the explosive patterns of media attention that determine which issues are brought before the public. At the heart of her argument is the observation that the media have two modes: an “alarm mode” for breaking stories and a “patrol mode” for covering them in greater depth. While institutional incentives often initiate alarm mode around a story, they also propel news outlets into the watchdog-like patrol mode around its policy implications until the next big news item breaks. What results from this pattern of fixation followed by rapid change is skewed coverage of policy issues, with a few receiving the majority of media attention while others receive none at all. Boydstun documents this systemic explosiveness and skew through analysis of media coverage across policy issues, including in-depth looks at the waxing and waning of coverage around two issues: capital punishment and the “war on terror.” Making the News shows how the seemingly unpredictable day-to-day decisions of the newsroom produce distinct patterns of operation with implications—good and bad—for national politics.

The Death of the American Death Penalty

Author: Larry Wayne Koch
Publisher: UPNE
ISBN: 1555537820
Format: PDF, Mobi
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The death penalty has largely disappeared as a national legislative issue and the Supreme Court has mainly bowed out, leaving the states at the cutting edge of abolition politics. This essential guide presents and explains the changing political and cultural challenges to capital punishment at the state level. As with their previous volume, America Without the Death Penalty (Northeastern, 2002), the authors of this completely new volume concentrate on the local and regional relationships between death penalty abolition and numerous empirical factors, such as economic conditions; public sentiment; the roles of social, political, and economic elites; the mass media; and population diversity. They highlight the recent abolition of the practice in New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Illinois; the near misses in New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maryland, and Nebraska; the Kansas rollercoaster rides; and the surprising recent decline of the death penalty even in the deep South. Abolition of the death penalty in the United States is a piecemeal process, with one state after another peeling off from the pack until none is left and the tragic institution finally is no more. This book tells you how, and why, that will likely happen.

The Death Penalty

Author: Roger Hood
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191005312
Format: PDF
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The fifth edition of this highly praised study charts and explains the progress that continues to be made towards the goal of worldwide abolition of the death penalty. The majority of nations have now abolished the death penalty and the number of executions has dropped in almost all countries where abolition has not yet taken place. Emphasising the impact of international human rights principles and evidence of abuse, the authors examine how this has fuelled challenges to the death penalty and they analyse and appraise the likely obstacles, political and cultural, to further abolition. They discuss the cruel realities of the death penalty and the failure of international standards always to ensure fair trials and to avoid arbitrariness, discrimination and conviction of the innocent: all violations of the right to life. They provide further evidence of the lack of a general deterrent effect; shed new light on the influence and limits of public opinion; and argue that substituting for the death penalty life imprisonment without parole raises many similar human rights concerns. This edition provides a strong intellectual and evidential basis for regarding capital punishment as undeniably cruel, inhuman and degrading. Widely relied upon and fully updated to reflect the current state of affairs worldwide, this is an invaluable resource for all those who study the death penalty and work towards its removal as an international goal.

Just Mercy

Author: Bryan Stevenson
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
ISBN: 0812994531
Format: PDF, Docs
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#1 New York Times Bestseller | Named one of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Times • The Washington Post • The Boston Globe • The Seattle Times • Esquire • Time Winner of the Carnegie Medal for Nonfiction | Winner of the NAACP Image Award for Nonfiction | Winner of a Books for a Better Life Award | Finalist for the Los Angeles Book Prize | Finalist for the Kirkus Reviews Prize | An American Library Association Notable Book A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever. Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice. Praise for Just Mercy “Every bit as moving as To Kill a Mockingbird, and in some ways more so . . . a searing indictment of American criminal justice and a stirring testament to the salvation that fighting for the vulnerable sometimes yields.”—David Cole, The New York Review of Books “Searing, moving . . . Bryan Stevenson may, indeed, be America’s Mandela.”—Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times “You don’t have to read too long to start cheering for this man. . . . The message of this book . . . is that evil can be overcome, a difference can be made. Just Mercy will make you upset and it will make you hopeful.”—Ted Conover, The New York Times Book Review “Inspiring . . . a work of style, substance and clarity . . . Stevenson is not only a great lawyer, he’s also a gifted writer and storyteller.”—The Washington Post “As deeply moving, poignant and powerful a book as has been, and maybe ever can be, written about the death penalty.”—The Financial Times “Brilliant.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer “Not since Atticus Finch has a fearless and committed lawyer made such a difference in the American South. Though larger than life, Atticus exists only in fiction. Bryan Stevenson, however, is very much alive and doing God’s work fighting for the poor, the oppressed, the voiceless, the vulnerable, the outcast, and those with no hope. Just Mercy is his inspiring and powerful story.”—John Grisham “Bryan Stevenson is one of my personal heroes, perhaps the most inspiring and influential crusader for justice alive today, and Just Mercy is extraordinary. The stories told within these pages hold the potential to transform what we think we mean when we talk about justice.”—Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow

Now I Walk on Death Row

Author: Dale S. Recinella
Publisher: Chosen Books
ISBN: 1441214801
Format: PDF, Docs
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As one of the most influential finance lawyers in the country, Dale Recinella was living the American dream. With prestige, power, and unthinkable paychecks at his fingertips, his life was perfect... at least on paper. But on the heels of closing a huge deal for the Miami Dolphins, Dale's life took an unfathomable turn. He heard--and heeded--Jesus's call to sell everything he owned and follow him. Thus began a radical quest to live out the words of Jesus--no matter what the cost. In this quick-paced, well-written story, Recinella shares his amazing journey from growing up in the slums of Detroit to racing through "the good life" on Wall Street to finally walking the humble path of God--the path of ministry on death row.

Exoneree Diaries

Author: Alison Flowers
Publisher: Haymarket Books
ISBN: 1608466752
Format: PDF
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An in depth and personal look into the lives of four people wrongfully imprisoned for crimes they didn't commit.

Mercy on Trial

Author: Austin Sarat
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400826721
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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On January 11, 2003, Illinois Governor George Ryan--a Republican on record as saying that "some crimes are so horrendous . . . that society has a right to demand the ultimate penalty"--commuted the capital sentences of all 167 prisoners on his state's death row. Critics demonized Ryan. For opponents of capital punishment, however, Ryan became an instant hero whose decision was seen as a signal moment in the "new abolitionist" politics to end killing by the state. In this compelling and timely work, Austin Sarat provides the first book-length work on executive clemency. He turns our focus from questions of guilt and innocence to the very meaning of mercy. Starting from Ryan's controversial decision, Mercy on Trial uses the lens of executive clemency in capital cases to discuss the fraught condition of mercy in American political life. Most pointedly, Sarat argues that mercy itself is on trial. Although it has always had a problematic position as a form of "lawful lawlessness," it has come under much more intense popular pressure and criticism in recent decades. This has yielded a radical decline in the use of the power of chief executives to stop executions. From the history of capital clemency in the twentieth century to surrounding legal controversies and philosophical debates about when (if ever) mercy should be extended, Sarat examines the issue comprehensively. In the end, he acknowledges the risks associated with mercy--but, he argues, those risks are worth taking.