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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 118519 Find in a Library
Title: Death Is Different: Studies in the Morality, Law, and Politics of Capital Punishment
Author(s): H A Bedau
Date Published: 1987
Page Count: 307
Sponsoring Agency: Northeastern University Press
Boston, MA 02115
Publication Number: ISBN 1-55553-008-7
Sale Source: Northeastern University Press
Managing Manager
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States of America
Type: Issue Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: These essays examine the philosophical and legal foundations of capital punishment and challenge claims that this punishment is reasonable, with emphasis on the view that death is different from other punishments in its morality, its politics, and its symbolism.
Abstract: The analysis focuses particularly on a moral evaluation of the death sentence and considers such questions as whether the State has the right to kill and whether even murderers retain the right to life. An exploration of the Eighth Amendment considers what constitutes cruel and unusual punishment and discusses how such a constitutional restraint ought to function in a civilized society. Empirical issues are also addressed, including the view that only a self-appointed "moral minority" opposes the death penalty. The text also evaluates the main features of current capital statutes and of the leading United States Supreme Court rulings that produced them. The author argues that a clearer understanding of how death is different eventually may erode support for what is now viewed as a form of justice. Tables, chapter notes, table of cases, index, and 311 references.
Main Term(s): Abolishment of capital punishment
Index Term(s): Code of ethics; Cruel and unusual punishment; Legal doctrines
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