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NCJ Number: 127910 Find in a Library
Title: Death in the Balance: The Debate Over Capital Punishment
Author(s): D D Hook; K Lothar
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 134
Sponsoring Agency: Lexington Books
New York, NY 10022
Publication Number: ISBN 0-669-20906-6
Sale Source: Lexington Books
866 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10022
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This book examines all issues in the debate on the use of capital punishment in America. Although the authors do not take a personal position in the debate, they critique current policy in the administration of existing capital punishment laws.
Abstract: After reviewing the history of the use of capital punishment throughout the world, the history of opposition to it is also outlined. Capital punishment law in the United States and its interpretation by the U.S. Supreme Court are then discussed, followed by an examination of the arguments and the evidence for capital punishment as a deterrent to heinous crimes. Other chapters focus on whether the death penalty is "cruel" as this term is defined legally; whether racial discrimination is evidenced in its application; the risk that innocent persons will be executed; and the value of capital punishment in the administration of retributive justice. Another chapter examines evidence in the argument that mentally distressed offenders desiring to die, but unwilling to commit suicide may commit a capital crime so the State will execute them. In critiquing the current administration of capital punishment, the authors conclude that the public as represented on juries and the legal system as reflected in the appeals process is so ambivalent about capital punishment that the length and unpredictability of the process undermines any potential deterrence effectiveness and inflicts cruel and unusual psychological suffering on the death row inmate. If capital punishment is legal, reason the authors, it should be administered predictably and swiftly. Chapter notes, 31-item bibliography, and subject index
Main Term(s): Capital punishment
Index Term(s): Cruel and unusual punishment; Deterrence effectiveness
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