The Death Penalty: Documents Decoded, 1st Edition

  • Joseph A. Melusky
  • Keith Alan Pesto
  • Published By:
  • ISBN-10: 1610691954
  • ISBN-13: 9781610691956
  • DDC: 345.73
  • Grade Level Range: 9th Grade - College Senior
  • 278 Pages | eBook
  • Original Copyright 2014 | Published/Released September 2014
  • This publication's content originally published in print form: 2014

  • Price:  Sign in for price



This book provides far more than an effective overview of the history, current status, and future of capital punishment in America; it supplies excerpts of the words of the justices themselves to make these judicial opinions readily accessible and understandable to general audiences. As a result, readers can see what the justices had to say for themselves regarding more than 30 important cases involving the death penalty—without relying on any intermediary interpretations of their statements. After a brief historical summary of the debate over capital punishment and the arguments favoring and opposing capital punishment, the book "decodes" how the justices have interpreted and applied constitutional provisions to historical and contemporary controversies. Each case includes brief narrative commentaries inserted by the authors to provide context for the justices' words. Additionally, the excerpted judicial opinions are presented as primary source documents for the reader's inspection and reflection.

Table of Contents

Front Cover.
Half Title Page.
Other Frontmatter.
Other Frontmatter.
Title Page.
Copyright Page.
1: Background.
2: Introduction.
3: Cases: Evolving Standards of Decency and the U.s. Supreme Court's Responses to the Death Penalty.
4: The Road from Wilkerson to Furman: 1878–1971.
5: From Furman to Gregg: 1972–1976.
6: After Gregg: 1976–1982.
7: Proportionality, Culpability, and Fitting the Punishment to the Crime: 1982–1989.
8: From Harmelin to Ring: 1991–2002.
9: Issues and Prospects for the 21st Century: Are Death Rows Facing Death Throes?.
10: Locked up for Life?: Juvenile Offenders and Ever-Evolving Standards of Decency.
11: Conclusions.
12: Concluding Observations.
13: Chronology.
14: Links and Resources.
About the Authors.