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The Contradictions Of American Capital Punishment

Author: Franklin E. Zimring
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198034797
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Why does the United States continue to employ the death penalty when fifty other developed democracies have abolished it? Why does capital punishment become more problematic each year? How can the death penalty conflict be resolved? In The Contradictions of American Capital Punishment, Frank Zimring reveals that the seemingly insoluble turmoil surrounding the death penalty reflects a deep and long-standing division in American values, a division that he predicts will soon bring about the end of capital punishment in our country. On the one hand, execution would seem to violate our nation's highest legal principles of fairness and due process. It sets us increasingly apart from our allies and indeed is regarded by European nations as a barbaric and particularly egregious form of American exceptionalism. On the other hand, the death penalty represents a deeply held American belief in violent social justice that sees the hangman as an agent of local control and safeguard of community values. Zimring uncovers the most troubling symptom of this attraction to vigilante justice in the lynch mob. He shows that the great majority of executions in recent decades have occurred in precisely those Southern states where lynchings were most common a hundred years ago. It is this legacy, Zimring suggests, that constitutes both the distinctive appeal of the death penalty in the United States and one of the most compelling reasons for abolishing it. Impeccably researched and engagingly written, Contradictions in American Capital Punishment casts a clear new light on America's long and troubled embrace of the death penalty.

Capital Punishment And The American Agenda

Author: Franklin E. Zimring
Publisher: CUP Archive
ISBN: 9780521378635
Size: 23.98 MB
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Describes social, political, and moral conditions in the United States, discusses the history of capital punishment, and examines the possibility of its being abolished

The Death Penalty

Author: Roger G. Hood
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199251292
Size: 39.40 MB
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Despite growing pressure for the death penalty's abolition, the year 2000 saw over 1000 people executed in China, some 123 in Saudi Arabia, 75 in Iran, and 85 in the United States of America (figures: Amnesty International). In this new edition of his classic study Roger Hood, theacknowledged world authority on death penalty legislation, assesses the global status of capital punishment at the start of the new millennium.As in previous editions, the author has drawn on his experiences as consultant to the United Nations for the Secretary General's five-yearly surveys of capital punishment as well as the latest literature from non-governmental organizations and academic experts. He shows that, despite a number ofset-backs, the movement to abolish the death penalty has continued to gather pace; that international organizations and human rights treaties have increased the pressure on retentionist countries; that further developments have been made in securing protection for those facing the death penalty inretentionist counties; and that, despite such advances, in some parts of the world the range of crimes subject to the death penalty remains wide and the number of executions considerable. As before, Professor Hood engages in the latest debates on the realities of capital punishment, on claims thatthe death penalty is a unique deterrent to murder and other serious crime, and on the role of public opinion in the debate on capital punishment.

The Death Penalty

Author: Stuart BANNER
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674020511
Size: 76.36 MB
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The death penalty arouses our passions as does few other issues. Some view taking another person's life as just and reasonable punishment while others see it as an inhumane and barbaric act. But the intensity of feeling that capital punishment provokes often obscures its long and varied history in this country. Now, for the first time, we have a comprehensive history of the death penalty in the United States. Law professor Stuart Banner tells the story of how, over four centuries, dramatic changes have taken place in the ways capital punishment has been administered and experienced. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the penalty was standard for a laundry list of crimes--from adultery to murder, from arson to stealing horses. Hangings were public events, staged before audiences numbering in the thousands, attended by women and men, young and old, black and white alike. Early on, the gruesome spectacle had explicitly religious purposes--an event replete with sermons, confessions, and last minute penitence--to promote the salvation of both the condemned and the crowd. Through the nineteenth century, the execution became desacralized, increasingly secular and private, in response to changing mores. In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, ironically, as it has become a quiet, sanitary, technological procedure, the death penalty is as divisive as ever. By recreating what it was like to be the condemned, the executioner, and the spectator, Banner moves beyond the debates, to give us an unprecedented understanding of capital punishment's many meanings. As nearly four thousand inmates are now on death row, and almost one hundred are currently being executed each year, the furious debate is unlikely to diminish. The Death Penalty is invaluable in understanding the American way of the ultimate punishment. Table of Contents: Abbreviations Introduction 1. Terror, Blood, and Repentance 2. Hanging Day 3. Degrees of Death 4. The Origins of Opposition 5. Northern Reform, Southern Retention 6. Into the Jail Yard 7. Technological Cures 8. Decline 9. To the Supreme Court 10. Resurrection Epilogue Appendix: Counting Executions Notes Acknowledgments Index Reviews of this book: [Banner] deftly balances history and politics, crafting a book that will be valuable to anyone interested in knowing more about capital punishment, no matter what his or her views are on the ethical issues surrounding the topic. --David Pitt, Booklist Reviews of this book: In this well-researched and clear account...Banner charts how and why this country went from having one of the world's mildest punitive systems to one of its harshest. --Publishers Weekly Reviews of this book: Stuart Banner's book is fine and balanced and important. His lucid history of this grim subject is scrupulously accurate...It is refreshingly free of the tendentiousness and the sensationalism that this subject invites. --Richard A. Posner, New Republic Reviews of this book: [The] contrast between the past and the present can now be seen with great clarity thanks to...Stuart Banner and his comprehensive book, The Death Penalty...American historians have been slow to undertake anything like a full-scale study of the subject...Banner's book does much to fill [the gaps]. His book is an important and comprehensive...treatment of the topic. --Hugo Adam Bedau, Boston Review Reviews of this book: Despite the gruesome nature of the book's topic, it is difficult to stop reading. Banner's research is fascinating, his writing style compelling. Given the emotional nature of the subject (few people known to me are wishy-washy about whether the death penalty is moral or immoral), Banner walks the line of neutrality skillfully, without seeming evasive. --Steve Weinberg, Legal Times Reviews of this book: Stuart Banner's The Death Penalty is a tour de force, remarkable for its neutrality as it traces the ways in which the death penalty has been applied, and for what kinds of crimes, from the Colonial era to the present. Banner...writes like a historian who believes perspective is best gained by dispassionately setting out what happened and letting everyone come to his or her own conclusions. I think, in this book, that works wonderfully. On a subject in which emotions run so high, it seems awfully useful to have a dispassionate voice. After all, if Banner allowed his own feelings on the death penalty--pro, con or somewhere in the middle--to be known, the book easily could be dismissed as a diatribe. He doesn't, and it can't. --Judith Neuman Beck, San Jose Mercury News Reviews of this book: Law professor Banner...offers a persuasive examination of the evolution of capital punishment from Colonial times onward. He makes clear that the death penalty has possessed generally consistent support from the US populace, although changes in the sensibilities of juries, executioners, legal theoreticians, and judges have occurred...Highly recommended. --R. C. Cottrell, Choice Reviews of this book: Stuart Banner aptly illustrates in The Death Penalty, like the nation, the death penalty has changed with the times...Banner's account spotlights a number of interesting trends in American history...Mostly evenhanded in the tour he provides through the history of the death penalty and its role in and reflection of American society, he has managed to provide an accessible look at what is a profoundly controversial and complicated subject. --Steven Martinovich, Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel Reviews of this book: "For centuries," Stuart Banner tells us, "Americans had been proud to possess a criminal-justice system that made less use of the death penalty than just about any other place on the globe, including the countries of western Europe." But no longer. Now we possess "one of the harshest criminal codes in the world." The Death Penalty helps explain that turnaround, but only in the course of a complicated story in which different factors emerge at different times to play often unforeseeable roles...[This is a] superbly told history. --Paul Rosenberg, Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News Reviews of this book: Stuart Banner's lucid, richly researched book brings us, for the first time, a comprehensive history of American capital punishment from colonial times to the present. He describes the practices that characterized the institution at different periods, elucidates their ritual purposes and social meanings, and identifies the forces that led to their transformation. The book's well-ordered narrative is interspersed with individual case histories, that give flesh and blood to the account. --David Garland, Times Literary Supplement Reviews of this book: [An] informative, even-handed, chillingly fascinating account of why and how the U.S. government and many state governments decided to sponsor executions of criminals--even though innocent defendants might die, too. --Jane Henderson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch Reviews of this book: Stuart Banner's The Death Penalty is a splendidly objective achievement. Delightfully written, free of academic pretense, liberally sprinkled with apt references from contemporary sources, the book exhaustively explores the multifaceted evolution of America's penal practices. --Elsbeth Bothe, Baltimore Sun The Death Penalty is certain to be the definitive account of the American experience with capital punishment, from its beginnings in the seventeenth century, to the execution of Timothy McVeigh in 2001. This is a first rate piece of scholarship: well written, deeply researched, fascinating to read, and full of insights and good common sense. It is, in my view, one of the finest books to deal with this troubled and troubling subject. Historical and legal scholarship owe a debt of gratitude to Stuart Banner. --Lawrence Friedman, Stanford Law School A masterful book. This is a long overdue account which fills a huge gap in our understanding of America's long and complex relationship to state killing. With meticulous scholarship and lucid prose, Banner has written a compelling account of the place of capital punishment in our society. It sets the standard for all future scholarship on the history of the death penalty in America. --Austin Sarat, author of When the State Kills: Capital Punishment and the American Condition The Death Penalty, a study we have badly needed, is the first history of the nation's engagement--as well as its disengagement--with capital punishment from the country's earliest days to the present. With a sure grasp of the constitutional issues, Stuart Banner greatly advances a conversation at last underway about the rightness of putting people to death for having inflicted a death. Banner's greatest and most useful feat is remaining dispassionate on a subject that he cares deeply about--as do a growing number of his fellow Americans. --William S. McFeely, author of Proximity to Death The Death Penalty beautifully explains the changing paths traveled by supporters and opponents of capital punishment over the years. It explores a subject of enormous symbolic importance to Americans today, linking our views about the death penalty to our larger concerns about crime. --David Oshinsky, author of "Worse Than Slavery": Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice Banner's book is a superbly detailed and textured social history of a subject too often treated in legal abstractions. It demonstrates how capital punishment has gnawed at the conscience and imagination of Americans, and how it has challenged their efforts to define themselves culturally, politically, and racially. --Robert Weisberg, Stanford Law School

The Death Penalty

Author: Roger G. Hood
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN:
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In the six years which have elapsed since publication of the first edition many changes have taken place in respect of the death penalty; the number of countries which have abolished the death penalty has increased at an unprecedented rate although a few have re-introduced it; the range of offenses subject to the death penalty has contracted in many countries, but expanded in others; there are new facts to report on the number of executions carried out; much more is known about the extent to which states abide by the United Nation's Safeguards Guaranteeing Protection of the Rights of Those Facing the Death Penalty; and much has been published particularly in the United States of America on the legal, ethical and practical aspects of administering capital punishment and on public attitudes towards it. The time is therefore right for a new edition and in preparing it Dr Hood has thoroughly revised and updated the whole work.

Exceptional America

Author: Mugambi Jouet
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520293290
Size: 54.19 MB
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Why does a country built on the concept of liberty have the highest incarceration rate in the world? How could the first Western nation to elect a person of color as its leader suffer from institutional racism? How does Christian fundamentalism coexist with gay marriage in the American imagination? In essence, what makes the United States exceptional? In this provocative exploration of American exceptionalism, Mugambi Jouet examines why Americans are far more divided than other Westerners over basic issues—including wealth inequality, health care, climate change, evolution, the literal truth of the Bible, abortion, gay rights, gun control, mass incarceration, and war. Drawing inspiration from Alexis de Tocqueville, Jouet, raised in Paris by a French mother and a Kenyan father, wields his multicultural sensibility to parse the ways in which the intense polarization of U.S. conservatives and liberals has become a key dimension of American exceptionalism—an idea widely misunderstood to mean American superiority. Instead, Jouet contends that exceptionalism, once a source of strength, may now spell decline, as unique features of U.S. history, politics, law, culture, religion, and race relations foster grave conflicts and injustices. This book offers a brilliant dissection of the American soul, in all of its outsize, clashing, and striking manifestations.

The Cultural Lives Of Capital Punishment

Author: Austin Sarat
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 0804767718
Size: 64.93 MB
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How does the way we think and feel about the world around us affect the existence and administration of the death penalty? What role does capital punishment play in defining our political and cultural identity? After centuries during which capital punishment was a normal and self-evident part of criminal punishment, it has now taken on a life of its own in various arenas far beyond the limits of the penal sphere. In this volume, the authors argue that in order to understand the death penalty, we need to know more about the "cultural lives"—past and present—of the state’s ultimate sanction. They undertake this “cultural voyage” comparatively—examining the dynamics of the death penalty in Mexico, the United States, Poland, Kyrgyzstan, India, Israel, Palestine, Japan, China, Singapore, and South Korea—arguing that we need to look beyond the United States to see how capital punishment “lives” or “dies” in the rest of the world, how images of state killing are produced and consumed elsewhere, and how they are reflected, back and forth, in the emerging international judicial and political discourse on the penalty of death and its abolition. Contributors: Sangmin Bae Christian Boulanger Julia Eckert Agata Fijalkowski Evi Girling Virgil K.Y. Ho David T. Johnson Botagoz Kassymbekova Shai Lavi Jürgen Martschukat Alfred Oehlers Judith Randle Judith Mendelsohn Rood Austin Sarat Patrick Timmons Nicole Tarulevicz Louise Tyler

The Moral Fool

Author: Hans-Georg Moeller
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231519249
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Justice, equality, and righteousness these are some of our greatest moral convictions. Yet in times of social conflict, morals can become rigid, making religious war, ethnic cleansing, and political purges possible. Morality, therefore, can be viewed as pathology-a rhetorical, psychological, and social tool that is used and abused as a weapon. An expert on Eastern philosophies and social systems theory, Hans-Georg Moeller questions the perceived goodness of morality and those who claim morality is inherently positive. Critiquing the ethical "fanaticism" of Western moralists, such as Immanuel Kant, Lawrence Kohlberg, John Rawls, and the utilitarians, Moeller points to the absurd fundamentalisms and impracticable prescriptions arising from definitions of good. Instead he advances a theory of "moral foolishness," or moral asceticism, extracted from the "amoral" philosophers of East Asia and such thinkers as Ludwig Wittgenstein and Niklas Luhmann. The moral fool doesn't understand why ethics are necessarily good, and he isn't convinced that the moral perspective is always positive. In this way he is like most people, and Moeller defends this foolishness against ethical pathologies that support the death penalty, just wars, and even Jerry Springer's crude moral theater. Comparing and contrasting the religious philosophies of Christianity, Daoism, and Zen Buddhism, Moeller presents a persuasive argument in favor of amorality.

Rituals Of Retribution

Author: Richard J. Evans
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
ISBN:
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The book begins with an account of the system of 'traditional' capital punishments set out in German law, and the ritual practices and cultural readings associated with them in the early modern period. It examines how this system broke down under the impact of secularization and social change in the first half of the nineteenth century. The abolition of the death penalty became a classic liberal cause which triumphed, briefly, in 1848. Its definitive reinstatement by Bismarck in the 1880s coincided with the emergence of new, Social Darwinist attitudes towards criminality whose eventual triumph laid the foundations for the massive expansion of capital punishment which took place during Hitler's 'Third Reich'. After 1945, the death penalty was abolished in the West but continued to be used in East Germany until its abandonment in the 1980s. This compelling study brings a mass of new evidence to bear on the history of German attitudes to law and order, deviance, cruelty, suffering, and death. It tells the stories of the men and women who went to the block, the politicians, philosophers, and officials who debated whether they should be sent there, and the executioners whose job it was to kill them. The book's findings are used to test the argument of Norbert Elias that there was a deficit of the 'civilizing process' in Germany, to examine Michael Foucault's theory of the formation of a 'carceral society' in the modern period, and to cast new light on the social history of death, as pioneered by Phillipe Aries.

Murder Stories

Author: Paul Kaplan
Publisher: Lexington Books
ISBN: 0739171712
Size: 59.20 MB
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Murder Stories takes on the difficult question of American retention of capital punishment by investigating the elusive role of ideology in the law. As such it is a prime example of contemporary scholarship on the death penalty and law & society.