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NCJ Number: 213938 
Title: Future Impact of International Law on the U.S. Death Penalty (From Visions for Change: Crime and Justice in the Twenty-First Century, Third Edition, P 198-216, 2002, Roslyn Muraskin and Albert R. Roberts, eds. -- See NCJ-213935)
Author(s): Christopher M. Cevasco J.D.
Date Published: 2002
Page Count: 19
Sponsoring Agency: Prentice Hall (Pearson Education)
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
Sale Source: Prentice Hall (Pearson Education)
One Lake Street
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Book Chapter
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper examines the current and future impact of international law on U.S. law and court decisions on capital punishment.
Abstract: International law and U.S. law are distinct but often complementary systems. Increasingly, the two systems have merged in the enforcement of human rights; however, in the case of capital punishment, State and Federal law as well as State and Federal courts have ignored international norms. The United States is the only Western democracy with the death penalty, but rather than acknowledge the widespread international condemnation of capital punishment as indicative of customary international law, the United States has increased its rate of executing offenders over the past decade. In the process, it has executed a growing number of foreign nationals in violation of their rights under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and a significant number of juvenile offenders in violation of a variety of international instruments. Prior to their executions, most endured years of incarceration on death row under the threat of death, raising the issue of psychological abuse. In its flagrant disregard of an international norm for criminal justice policy, the United States risks alienating its friends and undermining its international image as a fair and morally advanced society. International pressure will become an increasingly important factor in bringing the United States into compliance with customary international norms and several international treaties that condemn the death penalty as incompatible with an advanced civilization. 22 notes and 58 references, including relevant court cases (American and foreign), and international treaties and other instruments
Main Term(s): Corrections policies
Index Term(s): Abolishment of capital punishment; Capital punishment; International agreements; International law; Sentencing reform
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