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Capital Punishment Theory and Practice of the Ultimate Penalty

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2015-11-27
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


Capital Punishment: Theory and Practice of the Ultimate Penalty is a fair, balanced, and accessible introduction to the greatest moral issue facing the American criminal justice system today. Opening with a unique chapter that outlines the philosophical and theoretical explanations for punishment and its relevance to the death-penalty debate, the authors then explore the wide array of topics in the field.

The text covers the history of the death penalty in the U.S. from colonial times to the present day; the relevant landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases from Furman v. Georgia (1972) onwards; the history of public opinion and how it shapes the debate on capital punishment; the history of U.S. execution methods; deterrence; racial disparity in the application of the death penalty; wrongful convictions; the costs associated with capital punishment; and federal, military, and international death penalties.


Incorporates "Perspectives from the Field" boxes in most chapters that add valuable insights from people who have been personally involved in capital cases, including a judge, a prosecutor, a neuroscientist, a former death-row resident, and other key practitioners in the field

Explores the process by which "hard" science (DNA) is used to address exoneration and mitigation, in terms that are understandable to students

Includes an in-depth discussion of why we punish wrongdoers, examining why our urge to punish is so strong

An open-access Companion Website provides chapter outlines, chapter learning objectives, sample quiz/exam questions, and links to helpful websites

Author Biography

Virginia Leigh Hatch is Lecturer in Criminal Justice at Boise State University, where she teaches a variety of classes including Law and Justice and The Death Penalty in America.

Anthony Walsh is Professor of Criminal Justice at Boise State University, where he teaches criminology, law, and statistics.

Table of Contents

Chapter One: Why Do We Punish: The Origin and Purpose of Punishment
The Evolutionary Origins of Punishment
The Co-evolution of Punishment and Social Cooperation
Second- and Third-Party Punishment
From Primitive Vengeance to Modern Law
Reconciliation and Reintegration
The Assumptions about Human Nature and Punishment Justifications
Free Will, Determinism, and the Law
Punishment Justifications
Kantian Retributionism: A Major Justification of Capital Punishment
Chapter Two: History of the Death Penalty in the United States: Past and Present
Capital Punishment in Antiquity
The History of the Death Penalty in America
Pre-Modern Era/Pre-Furman
--17th and 18th Centuries
--19th Century/Abolitionist Movement
--20th Century/Pre-Furman
Furman v. Georgia (1972)
Modern Era/Post-Furman
Chapter Three: The Foundational Cases: Furman to Stanford
Furman v. Georgia (1972)
Gregg v. Georgia (1976)
Coker v. Georgia (1977)
Lockett v. Ohio (1978)
McClesky v. Kemp (1987)
Stanford v. Kentucky (1989)
Chapter Four: The Foundational Cases: Atkins to Baze
Atkins v. Virginia (2002)
Ring v. Arizona (2002)
Roper v. Simmons (2005)
Baze and Bowling v. Reez (2008)
Chapter Five: The Death Penalty and Public Opinion
The Ups and Downs of Public Opinion
Five Ways that Public Support Maintains the Death Penalty
Attitudinal Model and Political Adjustment Hypothesis
Expression of Public Opinion
The Marshall Hypothesis
Global Perspectives on the Death Penalty
Chapter Six: Methods of Execution
The Evolution of Execution Methods
Gas Chamber
Firing Squad
Lethal Injection
--Drug Availability
Chapter Seven: Deterrence and the Death Penalty
The Assumptions of Deterrence Theory
Specific and General Deterrence
Three Principles of Punishment
The Death Penalty/Deterrence Debate
Deterrence: Criminologists and Sociologists versus Economists
Is there a Brutalizing Effect of Capital Punishment?
The Inconclusive Conclusion of the Committee of Deterrence and the Death Penalty
What is Needed to Demonstrate if the Death Penalty is a Deterrent?
The Opinions of Criminologists and Police Chiefs on the Death Penalty
Pascal's Wager: A "Last Ditch" Effort
Chapter Eight: The Death Penalty and Special Populations
Race and the Death Penalty
Racial Disproportionality in Capital Punishment
The Issue of Victim's Race
Dueling Statisticians Redux
Juveniles and the Death Penalty
Women and the Death Penalty
Women Executed Since 1976
The Chivalry Explanation in Female Capital Cases
The Evil Woman Explanation in Females Capital Cases
The Death Penalty and Mental Disability
Mental Disability
Mental Illness
Chapter Nine: Modern Science and the Death Penalty
Exoneration and Mitigation
The Innocence Revolution
Science, Agency, Genes and Culpability
What are Genes and how do They Make us Different?
DNA "Fingerprinting" in a Nutshell
Brain Imaging in a Nutshell
Brain Imaging and the Abolition of the Juvenile Death Penalty
Some Problems with DNA Testing to Consider
Some Problems with fMRI to Consider
Chapter Ten: Wrongful Convictions and Death Penalty
Exoneration and Factual Innocence
Due Process v. Crime Control Models of Criminal Justice Systems
The Blackstone Ratio
The "Big Six"
Eyewitness Misidentification
False Confessions
Informant/Snitch Testimony
Bad Science
Ineffective Defense Counsel
Government Misconduct
Chapter Eleven: The Financial Burden of the Death Penalty and other Collateral Costs
Death Penalty: A Yellow Brick Road
The Timothy McVeigh Federal Murder Trial
The Financial Burden of the Death Penalty
The Financial Cost of Court Proceedings: Death Penalty v. LWOP
Expert Witnesses
Habeas Corpus Petition vs. Direct Appeal
The Introduction of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Appeal Act (AEDPA)
All Bark and Little Bite
Collateral Costs: Victims' and Defendants' Families
Last Words and Last Meals
Chapter Twelve: The Death Penalty Internationally and Wrap-up Debate
Why Does the United States Retain the Death Penalty?
The Federal Death Penalty
The U.S. Military Death Penalty
The Death Penalty in the Communist World
People's Republic of China
Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea)
The Death Penalty in the Islamic World
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Islamic Republic of Iran
Republic of Iraq
Libby the Liberal and Conrad the Conservative Debate the Death Penalty

Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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