This balanced approach to legal precedent and moral argument regarding the death penalty presents the evidence so readers can reach their own informed conclusions.
The debate about capital punishment is passionate and enduring. Context and circumstances matter. Who was the victim? What was done to him or her? Who was the perpetrator? Were there extenuating circumstances? Is he or she a sympathetic figure? What about contemporary mores and “evolving standards of decency”? What is right?
Capital Punishment examines the debate around the death penalty, raising questions and attempting to provide an even-handed examination of this controversial practice. The authors combine analysis of important issues with excerpts from landmark legal decisions, important documents, survey results, and empirical data.
The first part of the book discusses the origins of the death penalty and traces its development from antiquity to contemporary times. Detailed statistical information about capital punishment is presented and discussed, and the death penalty is considered against a constitutional backdrop with various arguments—for and against—articulated. The second part of the book consists of three appendices. The first appendix presents an annotated list of important capital-punishment cases; the second supplies a more general chronological treatment of capital punishment; and the third provides a bibliographic essay directing readers to other relevant sources of interest. A thorough and insightful treatment, Capital Punishment provides both a summary of the current state of capital punishment and a discussion of areas of continuing controversy.
Features • 15 black-and-white photos • Excerpts from legal documents, court decisions, and statistical and survey data • Timeline • Bibliography
Highlights • Provides narrative chapters on major issues concerning the capital punishment debate from its beginnings to the present day, concentrating primarily on the late-19th century through contemporary times • Examines methods of execution, as well as arguments for and against the death penalty for reader consideration • Looks ahead at issues and prospects for capital punishment in the 21st century • Is written for high school and college students, as well as general readers interested in the historical evolution and contemporary application of the death penalty
Reviews "Capital Punishment provides an excellent starting point for anyone who wants to begin research on the death penalty. . . . The book is well written and the information concise. . . . Highly recommended."—Choice