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NCJ Number: 228711 Find in a Library
Title: Elected Executions in the US Print News Media
Journal: Criminal Justice Studies  Volume:22  Issue:3  Dated:September 2009  Pages:345-365
Author(s): Glenn W. Muschert; C. Lee Harrington; Heather Reece
Date Published: September 2009
Page Count: 21
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined the distribution and intensity of the news discourse about elected executions (EEs), and thematic frames evoked when EEs were discussed.
Abstract: Analysis suggests that while public support for capital punishment in general is wavering, the media's reliance on the choice/volunteering frame to normalize the occurrence of EEs over time may contribute to continued public support for EEs in particular and for capital punishment in general. Research on defense attorneys' experiences with EE cases suggest that the nature of news coverage might hasten or forestall inmates' decisions to waive appeals and proceed to execution. News framing may be particularly salient in this life and death context. There are four stages at which a defendant may attempt to elect a death sentence or execution: pleading, sentencing, appellate review, and post-conviction appeals. This paper focuses on the last stage. Since executions resumed in the United States in 1977, 11.6 percent of those have successfully hastened the process. Many participants are involved in shaping the discourse of EEs, including the media. Analysis in this study focused directly on U.S. print news framing of EEs in the discussion. Also considered were how news frames might influence inmates' decisions and how they might uphold broader cultural narratives about capital punishment in America. Data were collected from all EE cases in the United States occurring between 1977 and 2006. Of the 38 States that have reinstated capital punishment, 33 have carried out executions; of these, 26 have executed inmates with their consent. Tables, figures, notes, and references
Main Term(s): Capital punishment
Index Term(s): Death row inmates; Media coverage; Media support
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