Items: 41 — 50

Feb 08, 2016

BOOKS: Confronting the Death Penalty: How Language Influences Jurors in Capital Cases”

In her new book, Confronting the Death Penalty: How Language Influences Jurors in Capital Cases, Marshall University Anthropology Professor Robin Conley exam­ines how lan­guage fil­ters, restricts, and at times is used to manip­u­late jurors’ expe­ri­ences while they serve on cap­i­tal tri­als and again when they reflect on them after­ward.” Conley spent fif­teen months in ethno­graph­ic field­work observ­ing four Texas cap­i­tal tri­als and inter­view­ing the jurors involved. She ana­lyzes the lan­guage used in those tri­als, as well as writ­ten legal texts, to gain a greater under­stand­ing of how jurors go about…

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Nov 06, 2015

UN Secretary-General: I Will Never Stop Calling for an End to the Death Penalty”

Calling the pun­ish­ment sim­ply wrong,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has vowed to nev­er stop call­ing for an end to the death penal­ty.” Speaking at the launch of a new book by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Moving Away from the Death Penalty: Arguments, Trends and Perspectives,” the Secretary-General high­light­ed the world­wide decline of cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment, not­ing that more and more coun­tries and States are abol­ish­ing the death penal­ty.” Data from the book con­firms these trends: in 1975, about 97% of coun­tries were car­ry­ing out…

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Sep 16, 2015

In New Book, Media Interviews, Justice Breyer Addresses International Opinion, Arbitrariness of Death Penalty

In his new book, The Court and the World: American Law and the New Global Realities, and in media inter­views accom­pa­ny­ing its release, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer dis­cuss­es the rela­tion­ship between American laws and those of oth­er coun­tries and his dis­sent in Glossip v. Gross, which ques­tioned the con­sti­tu­tion­al­i­ty of the death penal­ty. In an inter­view with The National Law Journal, Breyer sum­ma­rized the core rea­sons under­ly­ing his Glossip dis­sent: You know, some­times peo­ple make mis­takes, [exe­cut­ing] the wrong per­son. It is arbi­trary. There is lots of evi­dence on…

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Jul 06, 2015

BOOKS: An Evil Day in Georgia”

Through the lens of a 1927 mur­der and the ensu­ing tri­als of three sus­pects, An Evil Day in Georgia exam­ines the death penal­ty sys­tem in Prohibition-era Georgia. James Hugh Moss, a black man, and Clifford Thompson, a white man, both from Tennessee, were accused of the mur­der of store own­er Coleman Osborn in rur­al north Georgia. Thought to be involved in the ille­gal inter­state trade of alco­hol, they were tried, con­vict­ed, and sen­tenced to death on cir­cum­stan­tial evi­dence with­in a month of the mur­der. Thompson’s wife, Eula Mae Elrod, was…

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May 15, 2015

BOOKS: The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective”

The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective by Roger Hood and Carolyn Hoyle, now in its Fifth Edition, is wide­ly regard­ed as the lead­ing author­i­ty on the death penal­ty in its inter­na­tion­al con­text.” The book explores the move­ment toward world­wide abo­li­tion of the death penal­ty, with an empha­sis on inter­na­tion­al human right prin­ci­ples. It dis­cuss­es issues includ­ing arbi­trari­ness, inno­cence, and deter­rence. Paul Craig, Professor of English Law at Oxford University, said of the fourth edi­tion, Its rig­or­ous schol­ar­ship and the breadth of its cov­er­age are huge­ly impres­sive fea­tures; its claim to…

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Feb 19, 2015

BOOKS: One Woman’s Journey After Her Sister’s Murder

Jeanne Bishop has writ­ten a new book about her life and spir­i­tu­al jour­ney after her sis­ter was mur­dered in Illinois in 1990. Change of Heart: Justice, Mercy, and Making Peace with My Sister’s Killer tells Bishop’s per­son­al sto­ry of grief, loss, and of her even­tu­al efforts to con­front and rec­on­cile with her sis­ter’s killer. She also address­es larg­er issues of cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment, life sen­tences for juve­nile offend­ers, and restora­tive jus­tice. Former Illinois Governor George Ryan said of the book, When I com­mut­ed the death sen­tences of every­one on Illinois’s death…

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Feb 09, 2015

BOOKS: Examining Wrongful Convictions”

A new book, Examining Wrongful Convictions: Stepping Back, Moving Forward, explores the caus­es and relat­ed issues behind the many wrong­ful con­vic­tions in the U.S. Compiled and edit­ed by four crim­i­nal jus­tice pro­fes­sors from the State University of New York, the text draws from U.S. and inter­na­tion­al sources. Prof. Dan Simon of the University of Southern California said, This book offers the most com­pre­hen­sive and insight­ful treat­ment of wrong­ful con­vic­tions to date,” not­ing that it delves into top­ics such as the wars on drugs and crime, the cul­ture of puni­tive­ness, and…

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Feb 05, 2015

BOOKS: Imprisoned by the Past: Warren McCleskey and the American Death Penalty

A new book by Prof. Jeffrey Kirchmeier of the City University of New York exam­ines the recent his­to­ry of race and the death penal­ty in the U.S. The book uses the sto­ry of a Georgia death row inmate named Warren McCleskey, whose chal­lenge to the state’s death penal­ty went all the way to the Supreme Court. In 1987 the Court held (5 – 4) that his sta­tis­ti­cal evi­dence show­ing that Georgia’s sys­tem of cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment was applied in a racial­ly dis­pro­por­tion­ate way was insuf­fi­cient to over­turn his death sen­tence. McCleskey was eventually…

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Nov 13, 2014

NEW VOICES: Federal Judge Underscores the Heavy Price” of the Death Penalty

In a recent inter­view, Judge Michael A. Ponsor, who presided over the first fed­er­al death penal­ty tri­al in Massachusetts in over 50 years, warned that the death penal­ty comes with a heavy price” — the risk of exe­cut­ing inno­cent peo­ple: A legal regime per­mit­ting cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment comes with a fair­ly heavy price.…where there’s a death penal­ty inno­cent peo­ple will die. Sooner or lat­er — we hope not too often — some­one who didn’t com­mit the crime will be exe­cut­ed.” In 2001, Judge Ponsor over­saw the cap­i­tal tri­al of Kristen Gilbert, a nurse who was…

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Oct 28, 2014

NEW VOICES: Doubts About the Death Penalty Among American Founders

In a recent op-ed in the National Law Journal, his­to­ri­an John Bessler described the ambiva­lence among American founders toward the death penal­ty. He not­ed, Although ear­ly U.S. laws autho­rized exe­cu­tions, the founders great­ly admired a now lit­tle-known Italian writer, Cesare Beccaria, who fer­vent­ly opposed cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment. They also were fas­ci­nat­ed by the pen­i­ten­tiary sys­tem’s poten­tial to elim­i­nate cru­el pun­ish­ments.” Thomas Jefferson wrote, Beccaria and oth­er writ­ers on crimes and pun­ish­ments had sat­is­fied the rea­son­able world of the unright­ful­ness and inef­fi­ca­cy of the pun­ish­ment of crimes by death.” James Madison, the…

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