9780195179804

Debating the Death Penalty Should America Have Capital Punishment? The Experts on Both Sides Make Their Case

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  • ISBN13:

    9780195179804

  • ISBN10:

    0195179803

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2005-03-24
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Summary

When news breaks that a convicted murderer, released from prison, has killed again, or that an innocent person has escaped the death chamber in light of new DNA evidence, arguments about capital punishment inevitably heat up. Few controversies continue to stir as much emotion as this one, andpublic confusion is often the result. This volume brings together seven experts--judges, lawyers, prosecutors, and philosophers--to debate the death penalty in a spirit of open inquiry and civil discussion. Here, as the contributors present their reasons for or against capital punishment, the multiple facets of the issue arerevealed in clear and thought-provoking detail. Is the death penalty a viable deterrent to future crimes? Does the imposition of lesser penalties, such as life imprisonment, truly serve justice in cases of the worst offences? Does the legal system discriminate against poor or minority defendants? Isthe possibility of executing innocent persons sufficient grounds for abolition? In confronting such questions and making their arguments, the contributors marshal an impressive array of evidence, both statistical and from their own experiences working on death penalty cases. The book also includes the text of Governor George Ryan's March 2002 speech in which he explainedwhy he had commuted the sentences of all prisoners on Illinois's death row. By representing the viewpoints of experts who face the vexing questions about capital punishment on a daily basis, Debating the Death Penalty makes a vital contribution to a more nuanced understanding of the moral and legal problems underlying this controversy.

Author Biography


Hugo Adam Bedau is Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, at Tufts University and editor of The Death Penalty in America: Current Controversies.
Paul Cassell is a U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Utah and Professor of Law at the University of Utah College of Law.

Table of Contents

Introduction vii
1 Tinkering with Death 1(14)
Alex Kozinski
2 An Abolitionist's Survey of the Death Penalty in America Today 15(36)
Hugo Adam Bedau
3 Why the Death Penalty Is Morally Permissible 51(25)
Louis P. Pojman
4 Close to Death: Reflections on Race and Capital Punishment in America 76(41)
Bryan Stevenson
5 Truth and Consequences: The Penalty of Death 117(35)
Joshua K. Marquis
6 Why the United States Will Join the Rest of the World in Abandoning Capital Punishment 152(31)
Stephen B. Bright
7 In Defense of the Death Penalty 183(35)
Paul G. Cassell
8 "I Must Act" 218(17)
George Ryan
Contributors 235(2)
Acknowledgments 237(1)
Index 238

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