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BOOKS ON THE DEATH PENALTY

(Reviews of the books are taken from the amazon.com website unless otherwise indicated. )

If you would like to order a book that you do not see here, email us at info@ccadp.org and let me know the title and I will send you the link that will allow CCADP a percentage of your purchase price.  Thank you for your support.


The Exonerated
"Both compelling and deeply moving... This documentary-style presentation relating the true stories of people exonerated of their crimes while serving on death row is a riveting theatrical experience." --Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter


Ultimate Punishment : A Lawyer's Reflections on Dealing with the Death Penalty
by Scott Turow - America's leading writer about the law takes a close, incisive look at one of society's most vexing legal issues.  Scott Turow is known to millions as the author of peerless novels about the troubling regions of experience where law and reality intersect. In "real life," as a respected criminal lawyer, he has been involved with the death penalty for more than a decade, including successfully representing two different men convicted in death-penalty prosecutions. In this vivid account of how his views on the death penalty have evolved, Turow describes his own experiences with capital punishment from his days as an impassioned young prosecutor to his recent service on the Illinois commission which investigated the administration of the death penalty and influenced Governor George Ryan's unprecedented commutation of the sentences of 164 death row inmates on his last day in office. Along the way, he provides a brief history of America's ambivalent relationship with the ultimate punishment, analyzes the potent reasons for and against it, including the role of the victims' survivors, and tells the powerful stories behind the statistics, as he moves from the Governor's Mansion to Illinois' state-of-the art 'super-max' prison and the execution chamber.   This gripping, clear-sighted, necessary examination of the principles, the personalities, and the politics of a fundamental dilemma of our democracy has all the drama and intellectual substance of Turow's celebrated fiction.


The Death Penalty in America: Current Controversies by Hugo Adam Bedau
Death penalty abolitionists will find much to like about The Death Penalty in America: Current Controversies. Editor Hugo Adam Bedau makes his bias plain in the preface: "I ... am opposed to the death penalty in all its forms, no matter how awful the crime or how savage the criminal." Other than a token mid-1980s essay from Ernest van den Haag, then, the thrust of this collection is decidedly anti-death penalty. As such, it is a useful compendium of the abolitionist viewpoint, and its extensive bibliography will serve anyone as a starting point for research on the subject. The book also contains excerpts from important Supreme Court opinions and laws on the subject. Those of a quantitative bent will be frustrated by the argumentation and the short shrift it gives to the work of Isaac Ehrlich, who demonstrated the deterrent value of the death penalty. But those interested in an exhaustive survey of the arguments against all components of the death penalty will find this a must-have volume. --Ted Frank


The Death Penalty : An American History
by Stuart Banner (Author)
Stuart Banner's The Death Penalty is a richly detailed overview of American attitudes toward and implementation of capital punishment throughout its past. Banner decries what he sees as today's prevailing "smug condescension" to history, and states that executing a fellow human in the 17th and 18th centuries, though exponentially more common than today, was "just as momentous" an act. He traces changing technology and venues as well as the relatively constant arguments--legal, philosophical, and religious--of proponents and opponents. The book is rich with fascinating sidelights, among them the chilling practice of "symbolic" executions, the idea that dissections, viewed as a sort of punishment beyond death, were thought to act as deterrents to capital crime, and how the rise of newspapers as a mass medium hastened, in part, the demise of public hangings. The Death Penaltyis free of polemic and cant, admirably disinterested, and at once rigorous yet thoroughly accessible. --H. O'Billovich --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


Death Penalty Cases, Second Edition
by Barry Latzer
Death Penalty Cases provides an unbiased collection of seminal death penalty cases in the United States. It offers full but carefully edited excerpts from 25 different US Supreme Court cases along with helpful introductory materials specially prepared by the editor. It also includes the latest statistical data on capital punishment [and a useful sampling of death penalty statutes]. Together, this material is invaluable for a full understanding of this fascinating subject.
Without taking sides on this controversial issue, the author illuminates the arguments and presents the cases that form the framework for US law on capital punishment. The keen selection of the material and the quality and extent of the commentary make this unique textbook a superb resource and an outstanding educational tool.
* Carefully edited excerpts from 25 landmark US Supreme Court cases
* Outstanding original interpretation and analysis from the author
* A wealth of impartial material on ethics and historical controversies



Don't Kill in Our Names: Families of Murder Victims Speak Out Against the Death Penalty

by Rachel King
King, a lawyer with the ACLU and an anti-death-penalty activist, tells the haunting stories of families touched by murder. Instead of seeking the death penalty for the convicts, these family members forcefully and poignantly oppose it: they "reject the concept of retribution and believe that no one is beyond redemption," says King. The gruesome murders vary widely, but a number of threads link the survivors. In each case, he or she tries to understand the forces that might lead a person to commit murder. And in just about every case, grisly details emerge about the murderer's background-such as abandonment and abuse. Instead of focusing on their rage, the survivors strive to feel compassion for the murderers-and their families-and to communicate this compassion to them. Many of the survivors evoke God as a reason for their opposition to the death penalty. Says Marietta Jaeger, about her rapport with the man who savagely murdered her seven-year-old daughter: "I believe that God was loving him through me... desperately needed the love and compassion I felt for him." Says Ron Carlson, whose sister was axed to death, "I don't think the Son of God would destroy his own father's creation." Particularly disturbing are stories that involve the sentencing to death of retarded convicts and juveniles, as well as one man who was ultimately proven innocent. The testimony of families of murder victims is key to anti-death penalty campaigners, and these moving accounts might touch readers who are wavering on the issue.


Just Revenge: Costs and Consequences of the Death Penalty

by Mark, Ph.D. Costanzo
With 3200 condemned prisoners on death rows and executions routine in 38 states, social psychologist Costanzo contends that it is time for this country to reconsider the cost and consequences of the death penalty. His ensuing text is thoroughly researched and refreshingly easy to read. Chapters 1 and 2 give the history of executions in the United States from the first documentation in 1608. Although the author makes scant mention of the American witch trials and the treatment of slaves, he shows proof that this country was at one time more humane than Europe in its methods. In subsequent chapters, he considers whether the death penalty is cheaper than life imprisonment, is fairly applied, or is a deterrent to potential murderers. Highly recommended for its content and style, this book should be useful for academic collections in sociology and criminal justice.?Frances O. Sandiford, Green Haven Correction. Facil. Lib., Stormville



 The Abolition of the Death Penalty in International Law  by William A. Schabas (Author)
This is the third edition of William A. Schabas's highly praised study of the abolition of the death penalty in international law. Extensively revised to take account of developments in the field since publication of the second edition in 1997, the book details the progress of the international community away from the use of capital punishment, discussing in detail the abolition of the death penalty within the United Nations human rights system, international humanitarian law, European human rights law and Inter-American human rights law. New chapters in the third edition address capital punishment in African human rights law and in international criminal law. An extensive list of appendices contains many of the essential documents for the study of capital punishment in international law. The Abolition of the Death Penalty in International Law is introduced with a Foreword by Judge Gilbert Guillaume, President of the International Court of Justice.


The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective``by Roger G. Hood

This is the completely revised and updated third edition of Roger Hood's classic study on the death penalty. In it he surveys and analyses the status of the death penalty as a punishment worldwide, taking into account the changes that have taken place during the six years since the last edition was published. This new edition is especially valuable at a time when more and more countries are joining the movement to abolish the death penalty worldwide.


Death Penalty in a Nutshell (Nutshell Series)

Covering both the substantive law and the procedural law of the death penalty, this title begins with the arguments for and against the death penalty and an explanation of its basic constitutional challenges and limitations. Major sections cover capital crimes and defenses, as well as trial level and post-trial procedural issues. Special topics such as race and gender bias and executing the innocent are included, as well as a section on international and foreign law issues. This Nutshell serves both as supplemental reading for students in death penalty courses and as a concise, narrative explanation of death penalty law.


Beyond Repair?: America's Death Penalty (Constitutional Conflicts)  by Stephen P. Garvey (Editor
Can the death penalty be administered in a just way—without executing the innocent, without regard to race, and without arbitrariness? How does capital punishment in the United States fit with international human rights law? These are among the questions that leading legal scholars and journalists explore in Beyond Repair?. All new, the essays in this collection focus on the period since 1976, when the Supreme Court held that capital punishment, in and of itself, does not violate the Constitution. In addition to reflecting on the most recent developments in the law, the contributors draw on empirical research to consider connections between newly available data and modern American death penalty procedures. A number of the essays scrutinize thinking about capital punishment. They examine why, following almost two decades of strong public support for the death penalty, public opinion in favor of it has recently begun to decline. Beyond Repair? presents some of the findings of the Capital Jury Project, a nationwide research initiative which has interviewed over one thousand people who served as jurors in capital trials. It looks at what goes through the minds of jurors asked to consider imposing the death penalty, how qualified they are to make such an important decision, and how well they understand the judge’s instructions. Contributors also investigate the risk of executing the innocent, the role that race plays in determining which defendants are sentenced to death, and the effect of expanded restrictions on access to federal appellate relief. The postscript contemplates the peculiarities of our contemporary system of capital punishment, including the alarming variance in execution rates from state to state.   Filled with current insights and analysis, Beyond Repair? will provide valuable information to attorneys, political scientists, criminologists, and all those wanting to participate knowledgeably in the debates about the death penalty in America.


Women and the Death Penalty in the United States, 1900-1998   by Kathleen A. O'Shea
Using a historical framework, this book offers not only the penal history of the death penalty in the states that have given women the death penalty, but it also retells the stories of the women who have been executed and those currently awaiting their fate on death row.


The Death Penalty: An Historical and Theological Survey by James J. Megivern
James Megivern offers readers a new history of the death penalty in the West, exploring its evolution through the early, medieval, and modern periods. This provides background for consideration of the U.S. Catholic Bishops struggle against the penalty.


Against Capital Punishment: The Anti-Death Penalty Movement in America, 1972-1994
While most western democracies have renounced the death penalty, capital punishment enjoys vast and growing support in the United States. A significant and vocal minority, however, continues to oppose it. Against Capital Punishment is the first full account of anti-death penalty activism in America during the years since the ten-year moratorium on executions ended. Building on in-depth interviews with movement leaders and the records of key abolitionist organizations, this work traces the struggle against the pro-death penalty backlash that has steadily gained momentum since the 1970s. It reviews the conservative turn in the courts which, over the last two decades, has forced death penalty opponents to rely less on the litigation strategies that once served them well. It describes their efforts to mount a broad-based educational and political assault on what they see as the most cruel, racist, ineffective, and expensive manifestation of a criminal justice system gone wrong. Despite the efforts of death-penalty opponents, executions in the United States are on the increase. Against Capital Punishment diagnoses the reasons for the failure to mobilize widespread opposition to executions, and assesses the prospects for opposition to capital punishment in the future of the United States.


Machinery of Death: The Reality of America's Death Penalty Regime
by David Dow (Editor), Mark Dow (Editor), Christopher Hitchens
This volume brings together lawyers, prison officials, social workers, journalists, and the relatives of murder victims, who all have one thing in common: intimate knowledge of the machinery of death, that is, the rules and procedures leading to a decision to use capital punishment. Death penalty lawyer David R. Dow (George Butler Research Professor of Law, Univ. of Houston) and Mark Dow, a Brooklyn-based freelance writer, have compiled articles filled with compelling evidence that capital punishment is unfairly used against underprivileged minority males. Among the less surprising revelations are that everyone on death row lacks the money to hire a "Dream Team," politics often plays a role in the decision-making process, and the death penalty can be seen as a direct descendant of lynching and other forms of racial violence and racial oppression in America. Nearly all of the contributing authors express a concern for innocent persons being victimized through capital punishment. However, the evidence presented here also reveals that the true root of the problem with false convictions is the judicial system itself.


The Execution of a Serial Killer: One Man's Experience Witnessing the Death Penalty
by Joseph D. Diaz
Diaz's powerful examination of the death penalty opens with a detailed description of the crimes of serial killer Edward Castro, a man whose execution Diaz witnessed. In 1986, Castro was responsible for three brutal murders and confessed when picked up by the Florida police on an unrelated issue. Diaz, a sociology and criminology professor at a college in Minnesota, was undecided about his stance on the death penalty. On one hand, he opposed it on moral grounds, but he had also seen the devastation such callous and sadistic killers wrought. When he learned the states of Texas and Florida needed volunteers to witness executions, he sent them both letters. Florida called on him. From that moment up until (and beyond) the execution itself, Diaz agonized over the process--including wrongful convictions and botched executions--and the consequences of the state taking a life, even that of a murderer. Readers on both sides of the death-penalty debate will find much to ponder in this thoughtful assessment of the U.S.' highest form of punishment.


Kiss of Death: America's Love Affair With the Death Penalty
by John D. Bessler - Few issues provoke such intense feelings and strongly held views as does capital punishment. In ‘Kiss of Death,’ John D. Bessler skillfully interweaves the powerful life stories of death row prisoners, his own experiences as a pro bono attorney on death penalty cases in Texas, and historical perspective to persuade the reader that state-sanctioned executions must be abolished in the United States.  Bessler's compelling, well-crafted narrative asks if capital punishment has less to do with crime control and more to do with vengeance and swift retribution—an eye-for-an-eye, a tooth-for-a-tooth. The author argues convincingly that the death penalty is just another form of violence in an already too-violent society. He contends that sentencing capital offenders to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole is the best way to meet the needs of public safety while breaking the self-destructive cycle of violence.  Placing the nation's complex, ever-changing relationship with capital punishment within legal, cultural, and historical contexts, Bessler dispels myths about the death penalty and addresses such subjects as racial discrimination in capital cases, wrongful convictions, the prominent role of guns in American life and in homicides, the issue of deterrence versus brutalization, the impact of executions on corrections officers and others in the criminal justice system, and the worldwide movement toward abolition. Also included is a call for televised executions as a means of exposing the reality of capital punishment to the public.   ‘Kiss of Death’ brings a fresh yet reasoned approach to an emotionally charged and highly contentious debate. It shows why people should care—in fact, be outraged—that government-sponsored killings are still taking place today. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.



The Hangman's Knot: Lynching, Legal Execution, and America's Struggle with the Death Penalty
This is an excellent short history of capital punishment-from Civil War-era lynchings to Illinois Gov. George Ryan's recent commuting of the sentences of that state's death row inmates-written by a fierce death penalty opponent who nonetheless displays an acute sensitivity to the many complexities of this issue. As founder of the nonprofit Project HAL (which tracks executions), and as part of the Capital Punishment Research Project, Steelwater has had access to records of thousands of legal executions, as well as thousands of lynchings. She skillfully and judiciously uses this information to argue that the struggles over the death penalty throughout U.S. history-and especially during three distinct eras of reform and rejection of capital punishment followed by eras of acceptance-are less about making sure that the death penalty is applied equally and more about "our many battles over who's in charge." Steelwater has written a definitive history of the arguments that have been used to justify the use of the death penalty: the early attempt to "politicize punishment" through the creation of penitentiaries and the death penalty; the influence of the Southern festival of shivaree along with the Ku Klux Klan in making lynching acceptable as a way to "express moral judgment," however dubious such judgments were; the influence of the vigilantes in the West, especially San Francisco, on efforts "to justify illegal execution and other lawless acts in the name of a moral crusade, a demonstration of popular sovereignty, or both.


Against the Death Penalty: Christian and Secular Arguments Against Capital Punishment

Drawing on Old and New Testament resources as well as secular arguments, Gardner C. Hanks shows that the death penalty harms rather than helps any quest for a just, humane society. He demonstrates through research data that the death penalty is an ineffective crime-fighting tool.


The Death Penalty: A Debate

Discusses the legal and moral arguments for and against the use of capital punishment in the United States.


Death and Justice : An Expose of Oklahoma's Death Row Machine
by Mark Fuhrman (Author), Stephen Weeks (Author)
Controversy rages about capital punishment as innocent men and women are being released from death rows all over the country. Into the debate steps Mark Fuhrman, America's most famous detective, and no stranger to controversy himself.  Are innocent people being executed? Are death penalty cases being investigated and tried as if someone's life depended on it? Is capital punishment justice or revenge?   Fuhrman seeks to answer these questions by investigating the death penalty in Oklahoma, a place where a "hang 'em high" attitude of cowboy justice resulted in twenty-one executions in 2001, more than in any other state in the nation. The majority of these death penalty cases came from one jurisdiction, Oklahoma County, where legendary district attorney Bob Macy bragged about sending more people to death row than any other prosecutor, and police chemist Joyce Gilchrist was eventually fired for mismanaging the crime lab. These two figures loom large in Fuhrman's investigation.   Examining police records, trial transcripts, and appellate decisions, and conducting hundreds of interviews, Fuhrman focuses his considerable investigative skills on more than a dozen of the most controversial Oklahoma death penalty cases, including two in which innocent men nearly lost their lives.   When he began Death and Justice, Mark Fuhrman was a firm believer in the death penalty. What he saw in Oklahoma changed his mind. It may change yours.



A Dream of a Tattered Man : Stories from Georgia's Death Row

by Randolph Loney, Will D. Campbell
This gripping volume records Randy Loney’s weekly visits with prisoners on Georgia’s death row, movingly portraying the personal relationships he developed with them. These powerful meditations explain how Loney came to visit death row and speak candidly of the intellectual and theological resources that shape his understanding of his visits. Whatever one feels or thinks about the issues related to death row, Loney brings readers closer to the men who live their lives on the brink of death. Though the book contains an implicit critique of the American justice system and capital punishment, Loney’s primary intent is to show, in very intimate terms, the genuine humanity of those deemed unworthy of life.   Reflecting on his friendships with the men introduced in these pages, Loney unfolds his increasing understanding of his own witness in the face of the horror of the death penalty and of his own moral frailty. Giving voice to the nature of the human spirit on both sides of the bars, he affirms the integrity of life and creation, despite society's maltreatment of marginalized human beings—especially the poor and persons of color—and the need to express faith in the reality of God’s love, despite the bewildering experience of divine absence.   A Dream of the Tattered Man is a deeply affective work offering profound insight into the meaning and value of the human journey through life.



The Contradictions of American Capital Punishment   by Franklin E. Zimring

Why does the United States continue to employ the death penalty when fifty other developed democracies have abolished it? Why does capital punishment become more problematic each year? How can the death penalty conflict be resolved? In The End of Capital Punishment in America, Frank Zimring reveals that the seemingly insoluble turmoil surrounding the death penalty reflects a deep and long-standing division in American values, a division that he predicts will soon bring about the end of capital punishment in our country. On the one hand, execution would seem to violate our nation's highest legal principles of fairness and due process. It sets us increasingly apart from our allies and indeed is regarded by European nations as a barbaric and particularly egregious form of American exceptionalism. On the other hand, the death penalty represents a deeply held American belief in violent social justice that sees the hangman as an agent of local control and safeguard of community values. Zimring uncovers the most troubling symptom of this attraction to vigilante justice in the lynch mob. He shows that the great majority of executions in recent decades have occurred in precisely those Southern states where lynchings were most common a hundred years ago. It is this legacy, Zimring suggests, that constitutes both the distinctive appeal of the death penalty in the United States and one of the most compelling reasons for abolishing it. Impeccably researched and engagingly written, The End of Capital Punishment in America casts a clear new light on America's long and troubled embrace of the death penalty.


America's Experiment With Capital Punishment: Reflections on the Past, Present, and Future of the Ultimate Penal Sanction
The second edition of America's Experiment with Capital Punishment is an updated and expanded version of the comprehensive first edition. Chapters, authored by the country's leading legal and social science scholars, have been revised to include a host of important developments since the 1998 edition. Thus, new evidence and information is presented concerning racial disparities in the administration of the death penalty, wrongful convictions, deterrence, the prediction of future dangerousness, jury decision-making, public opinion about the death penalty, the effects of the capital punishment process on murder victims' and offenders' relatives, death row incarceration, the costs of capital punishment, execution methods, and many other issues.  New legal developments are tracked, including the Supreme Court's 2002 decisions prohibiting the execution of mentally retarded offenders (Atkins vs. Virginia) and requiring juries to find all essential facts supporting sentences of death (Ring vs. Arizona); the moratorium on executions imposed by former Illinois Governor Ryan and Ryan's ensuing commutation in January 2003 of all Illinois prisoners under sentence of death; federal habeas corpus policies; and other changes in death penalty laws and practices.  Two new chapters have been added to the second edition, one by Professor Richard Wilson analyzing international laws and trends in capital punishment and their implications for the United States, and another by Professor Robert Blecker examining the theological and historical roots of the death penalty and their significance to contemporary capital punishment theory and practice. The volume, comprised of 23 individually authored chapters, remains the most current and comprehensive collection available addressing legal, empirical, political, and philosophical aspects of capital punishment in America.



Dead Man Walking

In 1982, Sister Helen Prejean became the spiritual advisor to Patrick Sonnier, the convicted killer of two teenagers who was sentenced to die in the electric chair of Louisiana's Angola State Prison. In the months before Sonnier's death, the Roman Catholic nun came to know a man who was as terrified as he had once been terrifying. At the same time, she came to know the families of the victims and the men whose job it was to execute him--men who often harbored doubts about the rightness of what they were doing. Out of that dreadful intimacy comes a profoundly moving spiritual journey through our system of capital punishment. Confronting both the plight of the condemned and the rage of the bereaved, the needs of a crime-ridden society and the Christian imperative of love, Dead Man Walking is an unprecedented look at the human consequences of the death penalty, a book that is both enlightening and devastating.



Triple Jeopardy: A Story of Law at Its Best-And Worst

by Roger Parloff
In 1973, the two infant daughters of John and Linda Knapp died in a fire in their house near Phoenix, Ariz. The parents were odd: John was a feckless man who had difficulty holding a job and spent much time sleeping or being ill with "headaches"; Linda was a bright woman with severe psychological problems whose home bore testimony to her hatred of housework and who locked her children, ages three and four, out of the house when she couldn't cope with them. The authorities resolved that John had started the fire and, believing that Linda had done it, he confessed. There followed a 19-year odyssey that does no credit to the Arizona judicial system, in the view of Parloff, a reporter for American Lawyer. There were three trials. The first ended in a hung jury, the second in a guilty verdict and a death sentence. Then, a number of lawyers, convinced of John's innocence, entered the case and donated their services. They secured a third trial after discovering prosecutorial misconduct, distortions, evidence "lost" and expert testimony that was, in fact, inexpert. The third trial ended in another hung jury, and in 1992 John was allowed to plead no contest and gain his freedom. A telling argument against capital punishment.



Capital Punishment and Roman Catholic Moral Tradition   by E. Christian Brugger

What is the Catholic Church’s position on the death penalty? How and why has it changed through the ages? In his engrossing and meticulously researched book, Capital Punishment and Roman Catholic Moral Tradition, E. Christian Brugger traces the history of this thorny moral issue.
Part 1 of the book offers a detailed exegesis of the Church’s account of the morality of the death penalty as formulated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Brugger argues that while the Catechism does not explicitly state that the death penalty is wrong, it lays down premises that logically imply this conclusion. Brugger argues that the fundamental moral reasoning found in the papal encyclicals Evangelium Vitae and Veritatis Splendor favor this same conclusion.
Part 2 provides an in-depth exploration of the treatment of the death penalty in the doctrine, traditional teachings, and texts of the Catholic Church. From the Old Testament and patristic writers to medieval and modern Catholic thinkers, Brugger mines this rich moral and theological tradition for arguments pertaining to capital punishment. He extracts from these teachings a "cumulative consensus" that capital punishment is morally legitimate and juxtaposes this traditional view with current church teaching.   Brugger’s historical and systematic analysis of contemporary and traditional Catholic teachings on the morality of the death penalty leads him to conclude that a philosophically consistent, doctrinally sound framework and vocabulary can and should be developed for rejecting the death penalty in principle


Finding Freedom: Writings from Death Row
by Jarvis Jay Masters, Finding Freedom is a collection of prison stories - sometimes shocking, sometimes sad, often funny, always immediate-told against a background of extreme violence and aggression, written by a prisoner on death row who has become a practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism


Capital Punishment in the United States : A Documentary History - by Bryan Vila
 - Both sides of the highly charged capital punishment debate in the United States are examined in this breakthrough collection of 112 key documents, arranged by historical period. The political and social aspects of the debate are represented through a wide range of documents, including congressional hearings, Supreme Court decisions, position papers, biographical accounts, and news stories. An explanatory introduction precedes each document to help readers understand how various and seemingly unrelated social, economic, and political factors have impacted public attitudes, legislation, and judicial decisions pertaining to capital punishment.


When the State Kills: Capital Punishment and the American Condition
Is capital punishment just? Does it deter people from murder? What is the risk that we will execute innocent people? These are the usual questions at the heart of the increasingly heated debate about capital punishment in America. In this bold and impassioned book, Austin Sarat seeks to change the terms of that debate. Capital punishment must be stopped, Sarat argues, because it undermines our democratic society.  Sarat unflinchingly exposes us to the realities of state killing. He examines its foundations in ideas about revenge and retribution. He takes us inside the courtroom of a capital trial, interviews jurors and lawyers who make decisions about life and death, and assesses the arguments swirling around Timothy McVeigh and his trial for the bombing in Oklahoma City. Aided by a series of unsettling color photographs, he traces Americans' evolving quest for new methods of execution, and explores the place of capital punishment in popular culture by examining such films as Dead Man Walking, The Last Dance, and The Green Mile.  Sarat argues that state executions, once used by monarchs as symbolic displays of power, gained acceptance among Americans as a sign of the people's sovereignty. Yet today when the state kills, it does so in a bureaucratic procedure hidden from view and for which no one in particular takes responsibility. He uncovers the forces that sustain America's killing culture, including overheated political rhetoric, racial prejudice, and the desire for a world without moral ambiguity. Capital punishment, Sarat shows, ultimately leaves Americans more divided, hostile, indifferent to life's complexities, and much further from solving the nation's ills. In short, it leaves us with an impoverished democracy.  The book's powerful and sobering conclusions point to a new abolitionist politics, in which capital punishment should be banned not only on ethical grounds but also for what it does to Americans and what we cherish.


The Death Penalty: An American History  by Stuart Banner
The death penalty arouses more passion than almost any other issue. While some of us believe execution is just and reasonable punishment, others view it as an inhumane and barbaric act. The intensity of feeling that capital punishment provokes obscures its long and varied course in American history. Here, for the first time, we have a comprehensive account of the death penalty in the United States. Stuart Banner tells the story of dramatic changes, over four centuries, in the ways capital punishment has been administered and experienced. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, death was the standard penalty for a laundry list of crimes--from adultery to murder, from arson to horse- theft. Hangings were public events, staged before enormous audiences, attended by women and men, young and old, black and white. Early on, the gruesome spectacle was an explicitly religious event--replete with sermons, confessions, and last-minute penitence--to promote the salvation of both the condemned person and the spectators. Through the nineteenth century, in response to changing mores, execution became increasingly secular and private. In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, as execution has become a quiet, sanitary, technological procedure, the death penalty is as divisive as ever. Re-creating what it was like to be the condemned prisoner, the executioner, and the eyewitness, Banner moves beyond the debates to give us an unprecedented understanding of America's ultimate punishment. With nearly four thousand inmates now on death row, and almost one hundred being executed each year, this book provides a much-needed perspective on an age-old issue that continues to haunt us today.



Who Owns Death? Capital Punishment, the American Conscience, and the End of Executions

In this timely book, Robert Jay Lifton and Greg Mitchell investigate the mindsets of individuals involved in the death penalty -- including prison wardens, prosecutors, jurors, religious figures, governors, judges, and relatives of murder victims -- and offer a textured look at a system that perpetuates the longstanding American habit of violence. Richly rewarding and meticulously researched, Who Owns Death? explores the history of the death penalty in the United States, from hanging to lethal injection, and considers what this search for more "humane" executions reveals about us as individuals and as a society... and what the future of the death penalty holds for us all.



Executioner's Current : Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, and the Invention of theElectric Chair
by Richard Moran
In this amazing story of high stakes competition between two titans, Richard Moran shows how the electric chair developed not out of the desire to be more humane but through an effort by one nineteenth-century electric company to discredit the other. In 1882, Thomas Edison ushered in the “age of electricity” when he illuminated Manhattan’s Pearl Street with his direct current (DC) system. Six years later, George Westinghouse lit up Buffalo with his less expensive alternating current (AC). The two men quickly became locked in a fierce rivalry, made all the more complicated by a novel new application for their product: the electric chair. When Edison set out to persuade the state of New York to use Westinghouse’s current to execute condemned criminals, Westinghouse fought back in court, attempting to stop the first electrocution and keep AC from becoming the “executioner’s current.” In this meticulously researched account of the ensuing legal battle and the horribly botched first execution, Moran raises disturbing questions not only about electrocution, but about about our society’s tendency to rely on new technologies to answer moral questions.



Capital Punishment and the Bible

Written by death penalty abolitionist Gardner C. Hanks (Amnesty International State Death Penalty Action Coordinator for Idaho) as a stringent denouncement of the process of state-sanctioned execution, Capital Punishment And The Bible draws directly from the Christian scriptures to emphasize the importance of forgiveness, love, and restoration. A strongly worded, powerfully articulated, highly persuasive, theological and humanitarian stand that invokes both Biblical and secular reasonings against capital punishment, Captial Punishment And The Bible is a welcome and timely contribution to the on-going national dialog, especially in these troubled times. Also highly recommended reading is Gardner C. Hanks earlier work, Against The Death Penalty: Christian And Secular Arguments Agasint Capital Punishment.


The Green Mile : The Complete Serial Novel

This novel taps into what Stephen King does best: character-driven storytelling. The setting is the small "death house" of a Southern prison in 1932. The charming narrator is an old man looking back on the events, decades later. Maybe it's a little too cute, maybe the pathos is laid on a little thick, but it's hard to resist the colorful personalities and simple wonders of this supernatural tale. As Time magazine put it, "Like the best popular art, The Green Mile has the courage of its cornier convictions ... the palpable sense of King's sheer, unwavering belief in his tale is what makes the novel work as well as it finally does."  The Green Mile was nominated for a 1997 Bram Stoker Award.


The Executioner's Song
The Executioner's Song is a work of unprecedented force. It is the true story of Gary Gilmore, who in 1977 became the first person executed in the United States since the reinstitution of the death penalty. Gilmore, a violent yet articulate man who chose not to fight his death-penalty sentence, touched off a national debate about capital punishment. He allowed Norman Mailer and researcher Lawrence Schiller complete access to his story. Mailer took the material and produced an immense book with a dry, unwavering voice and meticulous attention to detail on Gilmore's life--particularly his relationship with Nicole Baker, whom Gilmore claims to have killed. What unfolds is a powerful drama, a distorted love affair, and a chilling look into the mind of a murderer in his countdown with a firing squad. -


An Expendable Man: The Near-Execution of Earl Washington Jr.

How is it possible for an innocent man to come within nine days of execution? An Expendable Man answers that question through detailed analysis of the case of Earl Washington Jr., a mentally retarded, black farm hand who was convicted of the 1983 rape and murder of a 19-year-old mother of three in Culpeper, Virginia. He spent almost 18 years in Virginia prisons—9 1/2 of them on death row—for a murder he did not commit.   This book reveals the relative ease with which individuals who live at society's margins can be wrongfully convicted, and the extraordinary difficulty of correcting such a wrong once it occurs.  Washington was eventually freed in February 2001 not because of the legal and judicial systems, but in spite of them. While DNA testing was central to his eventual pardon, such tests would never have occurred without an unusually talented and committed legal team and without a series of incidents that are best described as pure luck.  Margaret Edds makes the chilling argument that some other "expendable men" almost certainly have been less fortunate than Washington. This, she writes, is "the secret, shameful underbelly" of America's retention of capital punishment. Such wrongful executions may not happen often, but anyone who doubts that innocent people have been executed in the United States should remember the remarkable series of events necessary to save Earl Washington Jr. from such a fate.


Live from Death Row - Mumia Abu Jamal
Sentenced to death in 1982 for the murder of a police officer, after a trial that has since attracted considerable criticism, African American journalist Abu-Jamal presents a collection of his prison writings


The Wrong Men: America's Epidemic of Wrongful Death Row Convictions
As the title suggests, Cohen (The Man in the Crowd) examines some 100 instances where people sentenced to death were later exonerated, most of them ultimately proven innocent of the crimes for which they were condemned. The capsule profiles of the exonerated are often too sketchy to be fully satisfactory. Still, Cohen makes his case that innocent people regularly receive death sentences merely through the cumulative effect of the stories. Cohen also analyzes the chief reasons why wrongful convictions occur so frequently. Eyewitness error is a prime factor, whether because of simple mistake or pressure from law enforcement officials. Again, prosecutors avid for convictions distort trials by inducing or winking at perjury or by suppressing evidence favorable to the accused. Other wrongful convictions are attributed to junk science, such as having witnesses' memories stimulated by amateur hypnotists. The author's explanations of these sources of capital error are straightforward and clarified by well-chosen examples. DNA analysis, as the book also explains, has become the main vehicle for exonerating the innocent, but in many cases no DNA evidence is available. Cohen believes the death penalty will soon be relegated to the "dark and distant past," and this volume is a convincing argument for the unreliability of capital convictions.



Karla Faye Tucker Set Free : Life and Faith on Death Row

This gripping story about the first woman executed in Texas in over one hundred years draws on accounts from family, prisoners, government officials, and friends to show how God used a remarkable woman to reach countless lives with a message of redemption and joy. Linda Strom, Tucker's spiritual advisor and close friend for eleven years, includes photographs as well as excerpts from Tucker's letters and interviews.


Finding Life on Death Row: Profiles of Six Inmates

Executions in the U.S. are usually carried out with little fanfare, and the public rarely knows much about who is being killed in its name. In this disturbing book, Lezin, a freelance writer who used to work at the office of career services at the Georgetown University Law Center, puts a human face on the debate about capital punishment. Her even-handed presentations of the cases of six death-row inmates, drawn from the files of Stephen Bright, director of the Southern Center for Human Rights, introduce readers to the inmates, the victims, the families, horrible crimes and horrible judges. As attorney Bright notes in his informative foreword, "A society that employs such an enormous, severe, irreversible, and violent penalty, which has been discarded by much of the rest of the world, should at least know whom it is killing." All six cases here are from the South: one is a woman, two have already been executed. The variety of their backgrounds and circumstances serves to highlight many of the injustices inflicted upon minorities, women and the poor. Lezin admits her bias at the outset, stating that she is "adamantly opposed to the death penalty" and that Bright assisted "with all aspects of researching and writing" the book. But Lezin presents each case with no commentary beyond a brief preface. Still, the facts make a compelling argument that the system is too riddled with discrimination and injustice to be morally or constitutionally sound.


Last Suppers: Famous Final Meals from Death Row

How's this for a last meal: 24 tacos, 2 cheeseburgers, 2 whole onions, 5 jalapeno peppers, 6 enchiladas, 6 tostadas, one quart of milk and one chocolate milkshake? That's what David Castillo, convicted murderer, packed in the night before Texas shot him up with a lethal injection. Or how about this: A dozen steamed mussels, a Burger King double cheeseburger with mustard, mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato, a can of Franco-American spaghetti with meatballs, a mango, half of a pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and a strawberry milkshake -- all that went down the hatch of killer Thomas Grasso on the eve of Oklahoma's giving him the needle.
The United States remains one of the few "civilized" nations to utilize capital punishment as a crime-fighting tool. Execution rituals have always varied slightly from state to state, not only in the method of death but also in the care and treatment of the accused during his final hours. One ritual that remains constant throughout all 38 states which have the death penalty is the act of feeding the condemned man a special last meal before the execution. The quantity and quality of the food available to the inmate does vary, but each man or woman is always allowed to partake of one final feast before they shake hands with the Grim Reaper.
The ritual seems to be important not only to the inmate and to prison officials, but to the general public as well. Almost every newspaper article documenting an execution lists the condemned man's last meal alongside his last words and the other details of the execution, making one wonder why this tidbit of information is so greedily sought after.


The Last Face You'll Ever See : The Culture of Death Row

In fascinating detail, Ivan Solotaroff introduces us to the men who carry out executions. Although the emphasis is on the personal lives of these men and of those they have to put to death, The Last Face You'll Ever See also addresses some of the deeper issues of the death penalty and connects the veiled, elusive figure of the executioner to the vast majority of Americans who, since 1977, have claimed to support executions. Why do we do it? Or, more exactly, why do we want to?
The Last Face You'll Ever See is not about the polarizing issues of the death penalty -- it is a firsthand report about the culture of executions: the executioners, the death-row inmates, and everyone involved in the act. An engrossing, unsettling, and provocative book, this work will forever affect anyone who reads it.


Dead Wrong: A Death Row Lawyer Speaks Out Against Capital Punishment

In a season busy with books about the death penalty, here is an idiosyncratic, almost experimental, but authoritative personal critique of the nation's system of capital punishment. Mello is a former postconviction counsel, representing Florida death-row inmates in challenges to their sentence-- challenges often popularly thought of as ``milking the system,'' as one judge said with reference to Ted Bundy. But Mello relentlessly demonstrates that such procedures generally unfold at a breakneck pace that understaffed counsel can barely keep up with, that delays are often the state's fault--and that the Bundy case's notoriety actually made it a de facto ``exception'' to the due-process rule. It is astonishing how many cases Mello can cite, from his own experience, of prisoners either executed or nearly executed in flagrantly unconstitutional circumstances due to indifference, incompetence, or outright hostility from the courts, considering that he has performed a mere 14 years of ``deathwork,'' as he calls it. However, Mello's often engagingly haphazard way of storytelling virtually ruins the two climactic accounts that introduce his decision to ``conscientiously abstain'' from continued work within the system, undermining the hyperbole with which, for example, he excoriates the decisions, regarding his clients, of Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell, whom he calls ``either stupid or malicious.'' Mello's own aversion to self-censorship also results in repetition; at least one episode that reads rather like score-settling; and an ``apologia'' for quitting deathwork startlingly announces that his reasons for doing so ``are beyond the scope of this book.'' For all that, death-penalty supporters--and opponents, for that matter--who do not read this unique insider's account of capital punishment as a capricious and nearly broken-down system will lay themselves open to the charge that they don't know what they're talking about.


They're Going to Kill My Son

Dicks's son Jeff has been on death row in the Tennessee state penitentiary since 1982, when he was sentenced for participating in a 1978 holdup-murder. That he sat in the getaway car while an acquaintance committed the slaying is verified, but according to the law, he is guilty nonetheless. As portrayed here by his mother, Jeff was a naive, overprotected youth who was deeply compassionate toward the dispossessed; in her view, that helps to explain his association with the killer and with the orphan he married, who turned out to be a troubled wife and mother. Dicks ( Death Row ) chides herself for bungling every effort she made to help her son's defense, and his lawyer is presented as having been more interested in his fee than in his client. Although she diminishes the book's emotional impact by writing in the third person, Dicks makes her case convincingly, and readers are likely to agree that Jeff's death sentence is not just.


Dead Run: The Shocking Story of Dennis Stockton and Life on Death Row in America

Dead Run is the story of Dennis Stockton, mastermind of one of the most daring mass prison breaks in American history. It begins with his conviction for a crime he maintained that he didn't commit and weaves through his troubled life, his perpetual incarcerations, and his often brilliant, often comical escapades within the prison system. With frequent excerpts from Stockton's prolific diaries, the book reveals not only much about its surprisingly insightful protagonist but about the prison system in general, including institutionalized corruption, power-hungry guards, inmates, and prison officers. There's more than enough intrigue, action, and disturbing comedy to fill several thrillers, but Dead Run is a true story of a man who refused to sit still and wait for the hour of his death. --Lisa Higgins --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Managing Death-Sentenced Inmates: A Survey of Practices

Prison Administration, Specialty.


Among the Lowest of the Dead: : The Culture on Death Row
The death penalty is often levied in Florida, where 90% of surveys show that residents favor it. Von Drehle, a staffer at the Washington Post and formerly a reporter for the Miami Herald, presents a compelling argument against capital punishment. He does not discuss the morality of the issue and covers only in passing such contentions that killing one killer will deter others. Rather, he points out the vagueness of Florida's law, which many other states have copied, and shows how the human frailties of judges make its application capricious. He also assesses the role of politics: anyone seeking statewide office in the Sunshine State must favor the death penalty. Examining politicians, judges (including Supreme Court Justices), prosecutors, defense attorneys and the condemned themselves, the author makes an effective case that, despite new laws, execution is no less a lottery than it has always been.


Welcome To Hell; Letters And Writings From Death Row

This deeply moving book vividly conveys life in the hidden world of death row by giving condemned men and women in the United States the rare opportunity to speak for themselves. Ranging from descriptions of cockroach races to eloquent statements about facing execution, this collection of letters from inmates to members of the pen friend group, Lifelines, unmasks the human face of the death penalty. As Sister Helen Prejean writes in her foreword, "Take this guided tour round Hell--guided by those who should know: the prisoners themselves." --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


Texas Death Row

Documentary photographer Light (Delta Time: Mississippi Photographs, Smithsonian, 1995) and Donovan, a freelance journalist and former director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, have collaborated on this visual and verbal tour of Texas's death row, where more people have been executed than in any other state. The authors contend that if, as a democratic society, America chooses capital punishment, the citizenry should see how it is carried out. Light's photographs are candid shots of the galleries, of inmates eating, reading, exercising, and staring out from behind bars as they await lethal injection. Donovan's accompanying text is unusually perceptive. Instead of dwelling on the horrors of the surroundings, she points out the ambiguities in the legal system and in the lives of the condemned. Each interview was a revelation to her, even to the point where she could see how much all human beings have in common with someone sentenced to death. Highly recommended for all libraries.


Condemned: Inside the Sing Sing Death House
For the first time since archival records were opened in 1977, readers can take a tour of Sing Sing Prison's infamous death house. From 1891 to 1963, 606 men and eight women were legally executed there in the electric chair. These executions were carried out with the strictest security away from public view. Yet journalist accounts of some of the high-profile capital cases made Sing Sing famous the world over. Investigative reporter Christianson (With Liberty for Some) has compiled the mug shots and dossiers of 70 condemned inmates with pictures of their physical surroundings. The result is a slim volume of indelible impressions. Today, Sing Sing is an average New York State correctional facility. Executions are no longer carried out there, and its notoriety has been eclipsed by more dreaded prisons in other states. Sing Sing's legacy, however, will likely remain an important part of America's history of criminal justice. Highly recommended.



On A Move The Story Of Mumia Abu Jamal

Everyone has an opinion about Mumia Abu-Jamal. Have an informed opinion. Read his story. Mumia Abu-Jamal is one of the most controversial icons of our time. He has become the face of the death penalty, and of America's failure to address fundamental issues of race, justice, and dissent. Yet despite years of widespread demonstrations calling for his freedom, few people really know who Mumia was before he became a death row "celebrity."  Most people know Mumia through his books Live from Death Row (1995), Death Blossoms (1996), and All Things Censored (2000), which cemented his reputation as a "voice of the voiceless." In On A Move: The Story of Mumia Abu-Jamal, award-winning author Terry Bisson brings to life the man behind that voice. Now, for the first time, you can meet Mumia as student, radical, lover, father, and reporter. Covering a childhood in Philadelphia's projects, a turbulent youth in the Black Panther Party, a promising career in radio journalism, and a fateful sidewalk altercation that changed everything, Bisson's colorful sketches tell the story of one of the stormiest periods in American history, and of a young rebel who came of age in its crucible.  A long-time friend of his subject, Bisson makes no attempt at an exhaustive account. On A Move will tell you how Mumia became the figurehead he is today, and why almost every progressive organization in the world has called for his freedom or at least a new trial. However, it does not dwell on the contradictory details of his conviction. Instead, in a readable style aimed at a broad audience, Bisson fleshes out the complexities and warmth of a man constantly dehumanized and reduced to two dimensions, both by those who want to see him dead, and by his supporters' tendency to make him a poster-perfect "cause."   Mumia's story raises fundamental questions about our commitment to freedom of speech, while the political climate of his trial casts serious doubt on whether a reporter famous for exposing police abuse could find justice in an openly hostile court. But whatever one's views on freedom of speech, racial discrimination, capital punishment, or even Mumia's guilt or innocence, this book will give you a vital understanding of a man and a movement that have already left their mark on history.



Inside the Death Chamber: Exploring Executions

Based on teaching a course on capital punishment and witnessing executions, Gillespie (Weber State College) presents issues in the US debate over the death penalty in question-and-answer format. This supplementary text includes discussion questions, a death row inmate's perspective, more.


Public Justice; Private Mercy A Governors Education On Death Row
At a time when the highly controversial issue of capital punishment is attracting increasing attention, former governor of California Brown recounts some of the 59 cases of death-row appeals on which he decided during his tenure, 1959-1967. Having supported the death penalty while he was state attorney general, he worked to abolish it as governor. Assisted by Adler, an editor at Los Angeles magazine, Brown recalls the well-known case of kidnapper-rapist Caryl Chessman, whose book and film, Cell 2455 , helped win him 12 years of reprieves before his execution in 1960. Equally engrossing are the cases of child-murderer Richard Lindsey and rapist Edward Walker--which hinged, Brown contends, on the nature of legal insanity or loopholes and badly written law. Though regretting a few of his decisions, such as when he commuted the execution of rapist Edward Wein, in his valuable firsthand assessment Brown nevertheless declares that capital punishment is often unfair, fails to deter crime, clogs the judicial system with delays, and should be replaced by life sentences, generally without parole.



Death Work: A Study of the Modern Execution Process

This text is a frank and unsettling look at the consequences of the death penalty in the United States. The author takes the reader on a compelling, step-by-step journey through the world of American executions, from the prisoners who spend years on death row to the prison staff who guard the condemned and the people who are executioners. Utilizing both ethnographic and quantitative research, this book creates a dramatic presentation of all sides of this controversial topic..


Death Row: Interviews With Inmates, Their Families and Opponents of Capital Punishment

Death Row contains thought-provoking interviews from opponents of the death penalty, as well as from inmates on death row.
Death Row is the inspired work of the impoverished Tennessee mother of Jeffrey Dicks, who languished on death row for a robbery he didn't commit and a murder he didn't even see. Shirley Dicks was inspired by the inequality of our justice system to publish these series of interviews by those who oppose the death penalty. This thought-provoking collection provides much insight on this controversial issue.  The United States' stand on the death penalty, in light of US leadership in human rights, appears to be a contradiction to the rest of the world. The methods of execution are sometimes extremely painful and not quick. An overwhelming percentage of those on death row are impoverished and would not be there if they had other resources besides desultory and ineffective court appointed counsel. These and other important issues are poignantly addressed.  Shirley Dicks was unable to hire a competent legal defense. At the trial the family was shocked when vital evidence was never presented to the jury. Jeff, who had no history of violent or criminal behavior, was convicted of murder and sentenced to die in Tennessee's electric chair. Jeff's loved ones never lost faith in his innocence, and they shared in his daily burden of deadly uncertainty and experienced the painful frustrations of their attempts to set him free. Unfortunately, Jeff died in prison in 1999 from inadequate medical treatment, which was several years after his conviction in 1978.


Sierra Leone: The Fighter from Death Row: Testimony of Survival by a Christian Journalist

An amazing survival story which can easily pass for a thriller in the field of fiction. But it is true. Journalist Hilton Fyle packs his bags and heads back home to Sierra Leone after 20 years as a star broadcaster with the BBC in London England, during which he became a household name in Africa and most of the English-speaking world. His new challenge is to participate in the new democracy that the United States and its allies are planting in the country, after 25 years of dictatorship and oppression.  Unfortunately, he gets a bad deal from the new , "democratic" government of president Tejan Kabba. His newspaper is forced to close after publishing a "Corruption" story involving two cabinet ministers. Kabba is overthrown in May 1997 and is planning to return with military force. But journalist Hilton Fyle uses his FM radio station to campaign for a peaceful return. Kabba does return with a bang. His opponents are shot and burned alive on the streets of the capital. Fyle escapes instant death, but he is beaten, imprisoned, tried and sent to Death Row awaiting execution. The climax of it all is that he walks out of Death Row without the consent of the government or the prison authorities. All this would not have happened he says, if United Nations peacemakers in Sierra Leone had not played a "dirty game."


Tears from Heaven Voices from Hell:

 The Pros and Cons of the Death Penalty As Seen Through the Eyes of the Victims of Violent Crime and Death Row Inmates Throughout America


Deathman Pass Me by: Two Years on Death Row (Borgo Bioviews, No. 3)



Dancehall Ladies: The Crimes and Executions of America's Condemned Women



Leaving Death Row  By Reginald Lewis , Pennsylvania Death Row Prisoner
This book is truly an insight into the world of not only an incarcerated man, but a black man on death row. Lewis speaks honestly, clearly and uncompromisingly about the realities of death row, imprisonment and the conditions that see over two million people, mostly black and brown, caged there. If we are to ever get at the root cause of the boom in the prison industry, we won't get there through get tough on crime laws. It will be by humanizing those who are in that system, and that is something that Lewis does with talent and compassion.  *this prisoner has a CCADP webpage.


All Things Censored By Mumia Abu Jamal
These 50 writings by jailed journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal include several recent pieces on censorship, justice, and the meaning of constitutional rights in America. Also included are the banned essays from Mumia's controversial tenure as on-air columnist for All Things Considered, and those that aired on Democracy Now over Pacifica Radio. Also included is a one-hour CD of Mumia Abu-Jamal reading his on-air pieces written for All Things Considered and commentary from Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Adrienne Rich, Howard Zinn, and many others.


The Wrong Man: A True Story of Innocence on Death Row

The frightening in-the-trenches story of an attorney's fight to save his client from the death penalty.  In 1976, "Crazy Joe" Spaziano, a member of a widely feared motorcycle gang, was sentenced to death for the murder of Laura Lynn Harberts, whose body was found in a trash dump near Spaziano's trailer. Nine years after his conviction by a Florida jury, a set of audiotapes was discovered in which police hypnotized and coached the primary witness against Spaziano, a witness who later recanted his testimony. Despite this exculpatory evidence, Spaziano's case continued to move steadily toward the electric chair.  The Wrong Man is the dramatic story of Michael Mello's twenty-year-long fight to save Spaziano from being executed for crimes he didn't commit. In a gripping personal account Mello, a well-known author, activist, and legal commentator, describes the in and outs of this case and the extremes to which he was driven by it. In his desperation to halt this miscarriage of justice, Mello broke ethical and procedural rules, faced possible contempt charges and disbarment proceedings, and gave up hope of ever practicing law in Florida again. Among his unconventional measures was to involve the Miami Herald, which eventually published an investigative piece exposing the fundamental unfairness of Spaziano's sentence, an article that was instrumental in turning the tide of public opinion and bringing the case to the attention of the national media.
More than an account of a single, notorious death penalty case, The Wrong Man is an indictment of capital punishment and the criminal justice system-a fascinating first-person narrative about death penalty legal work and a detailed account of how the justice system often fails to deliver justice. Ultimately Mello offers compelling proof of the following sad reality: wrongful convictions can easily occur, and innocent people are sentenced to death and executed in America


Life on Death Row  by Robert Murray, Arizona death row prisoner

This is a must read for anyone seriously interested in the concept of justice. Set in death row of a super max prison in Arizona, Robert W Murray has produced a vivid account of his experiences drawing the reader directly into the narrative, almost into his tiny isolated cell.  Brought to life are many examples of the inhumanity of the prison system, where men and women are stripped of their dignity, where executions are carried out to further political careers and the legal system which Robert describes as, "Fair", is misused by incompetent people.  This is a moving book which argues for the removal of the death penalty not only because some of those killed by the state are innocent but also because of the absolute futility of vengeance by execution. *this prisoner has a CCADP webpage.


Lethal Justice: One Man's Journey of Hope on Death Row
This is a moving book. It makes a strong case against the death penalty and will force you to carefully evaluate your own stance on the issue. After an executed man was found innocent, a group came together in Britain to begin corresponding with death row inmates. Joy saw the television show about this innocent man and joined Human Writes. She began corresponding with Lesly Gosch.  This book uses the author's words and excerpts of correspondence from Lesly to tell the story of life on death row and one man's journey to self-acceptance before execution.


To Kill and Be Killed: Case Studies from Florida's Death Row

An excellent introduction to the multifaceted problems posed by the death penalty. The Millers lay out the issues in easily understood language, and provide a range of examples which include a Vietnam vet, a mental retardee/handicapped person, and a juvenile. Each chapter discusses the particular aspects of the broader issue which affects that case. The Vietnam vet case study includes a biography of David Funchess, a description of his crime, an account of his stay on Death Row (including some poetry he wrote), and an account of reactions to his execution by one of his lawyers and relatives of his victims. Overview chapters, ``Is Justice Served?'' and ``Are Any Problems Solved?'' lead students to examine their own views. This is the kind of thought-provoking volume which elicits growth toward adult thinking in young adults.


Out Of The Night - Writings From Death Row

This book is the only collection of poems and prose by prisoners on America’s Death Row. It lets us hear voices from that terrible darkness, where 2,750 people face execution. For these authors, their writing is a lifeline and a link to the outside world. They use it to evoke the desolation of imprisonment without hope, and to argue passionately against the inhumanity of capital punishment.   Royalties from the book are being donated to the Andrew Lee Jones Fund, which supports the training of lawyers in capital defence. -

If I Should Die: A Death Row Correspondence

In July 1991 Andrew Lee Jones became the last person to die in ‘Old Sparky’, Louisiana’s electric chair. Over the preceding fifteen months, Andrew corresponded with Jane Officer, an English woman whom he met through a penfriend organization based in England. Andrew was 35, poor, black and a convicted criminal; his English friend was white, middle class and 55. She travelled to the USA for the first time in her life to plead for Andrew’s life at a Pardon Board hearing, and spent his last few hours with him and his family.   These edited letters and diaries are a moving account of their unusual but important friendship. They are introduced by Jane Officer, who describes how she came to know Andrew Lee Jones through their letter writing, and the effects the correspondence had on them both. In a concluding chapter Sarah Ottinger, an attorney who worked on Andrew’s case, explains the doubts surrounding his trial and highlights the weaknesses in defendant representation in American capital trials.


Condemned to Die: Life Under Sentence of Death


Legal Lynching : The Death Penalty and America's Future
The death penalty is one of the most hotly contested issues in America today. Evidence continues to mount that many innocent people have been executed or are currently living on death row, and that minority groups and the poor suffer from a shoddy public defense system and discriminatory application of capital charges. Meanwhile, the myth of deterrence has been revealed to be false, and an increasing number of Americans are beginning to question their support for capital punishment. Legal Lynching offers a succinct, accessible introduction to the debate over the death penalty's history and future, exposing a chilling frequency of legal error, systemic racial and economic discrimination, and pervasive government misconduct. This is an essential book for readers across the political spectrum who wish to cut through the common myths and assumptions about the efficacy and morality of state-sanctioned killing.



America Without the Death Penalty- States Leading The Way

In recent years, American politicians have learned the peril of actively opposing the death penalty. During the 1988 Presidential race, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis stumbled in the polls after stating that he would oppose executing first degree murderers even, hypothetically, the convicted killer of his own wife. New York Governor Mario Cuomo's 1994 reelection loss to a political newcomer could be attributed to his annual vetoes of death penalty bills passed by the state legislature. Meanwhile, public support for capital punishment is overwhelming, and federal provisions allowing capital punishment, as well as the number of actual executions, have increased dramatically over the last decade. Accordingly, the United States retains the dubious distinction of joining China, Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia as nations that continue to execute their citizens. Nationwide surveys, however, indicate that the number of Americans who favor the death penalty is, in fact, declining. As the struggle over state-sponsored homicide rages on, twelve states and the District of Columbia have taken bold measures to eliminate this unethical and inequitable practice. This landmark study is the first to examine the history and motivations of those jurisdictions that abolished capital punishment and that have resisted the move to reinstate death penalty statutes.  Employing the case study method, the work focuses on the nine states-Michigan, Wisconsin, Maine, Minnesota, North Dakota, Hawaii, Alaska, Iowa, and West Virginia-that took legislative action. Three other states-Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont-that banned the death penalty through court decisions are discussed, as is the District of Columbia's courageous fight against Congressional efforts to reestablish the death penalty in the nation's capital. The inquiry delves into the local relationship between death penalty abolition and numerous empirical factors, including: economic conditions, public sentiment, the roles of the political, social, and economic elite, the mass media, population diversity, murder rates, and the regional history of executions.
With its solid research and methodology, this work provides invaluable historical and practical information to advocates striving to abolish capital punishment in other state.


The Death Penalty for Teens: A Pro/Con Issue

Gr 6-9-This slim volume is unusual in its emphasis on teen criminals and the unique social and developmental issues surrounding juvenile crime. Day provides a concise history of capital punishment, the peculiar challenges of dealing with teenage criminals, and coherent arguments for and against the death penalty for juveniles. A sobering chapter comparing U.S. practices and statistics to those of other countries casts a serious shadow over the vision we have of ourselves as an enlightened society. A final chapter looks at options for change in the juvenile justice system that might eliminate the need for such drastic punishments. The book is attractively formatted and the use of color, white space, and vivid graphics along with photos enhances the accessible text. The volume concludes with addresses of organizations to contact for more information, chapter notes, and a brief index. While books on the subject are always in demand, this title will likely be the one most students want.-


Congregation of the Condemned: Voices Against the Death Penalty

Over forty essays call for an end to the death penalty, gathered by Shirley Dicks, whose son is on death row for his role in a robbery which resulted in a storekeeper's death. Dicks maintains that those sentenced to death are the poor; while wealthy criminals with similar crimes are allowed lighter penalties. The collection makes a point.


Rebel and a Cause: Caryl Chessman and the Politics of the Death Penalty in Postwar California, 1948-1974

Theodore Hamm has written about criminal justice for The Los Angeles Times, The Nation, American Quarterly, and Souls. He currently teaches in the Metropolitan Studies Program at New York University


 Arbitrary and Capricious : The Supreme Court, the Constitution, and the Death Penalty

Justice Marshall once remarked that if people knew what he knew about the death penalty, they would reject it overwhelmingly. Foley elucidates Marshall's claim that fundamental flaws exist in the implementation of the death penalty. He guides us through the history of the Supreme Court's death penalty decisions, revealing a constitutional quagmire the Court must navigate to avoid violating the fundamental tenant of equal justice for all.

The Death Penalty: Opposing Viewpoints (Opposing Viewpoints Series (Unnumbered).)

Young Adult.  Opposing viewpoints debate death penalty issues. Includes critical thinking activities

Witness To An Execution - Audio Download



Shot In The Heart - Audio Download

"I have a story to tell. It is a story of murder told from inside the house where murder is born. It is the house where I grew up, a house that, in some ways, I have never been able to leave."  Mikal Gilmore is a Rolling Stone writer and the youngest brother of murderer Gary Gilmore, who became, in 1977, the first person to be executed in the United States after a 10-year hiatus, a case which was subsequently recounted in Norman Mailer's The Executioner's Song. This brave and eloquent book is the story that only Mikal Gilmore knows: the violence in multiple generations of his family, what the Gilmore house was like as he was growing up, his relationship with his brother, and his experience of the dramatic events surrounding Gary Gilmore's determination to be executed as planned, without appeal. Shot in the Heart pulls off the rare feat of conveying intense emotion without sentimentality or self-pity. The author's struggle is to set himself apart from the lurid true-crime fraternity of his father and brothers yet remain able to understand why he feels both guilty and lonely over his exclusion from his family's violent history. --


The Death Penalty: An American Citizen's Guide to Understanding Federal and State Laws
Despite the increased use of capital punishment in the United States, the American public has little real knowledge of how the death penalty is enforced. Media reports focus primarily on the sensational aspects of the various laws, and the fact that there are 52 distinct legal jurisdictions (the 50 states, the federal government, and the District of Columbia) further fuels the confusion. Written in plain language, the primary focus of this work is on the death penalty phase of criminal prosecution. Part I gives an overview of capital punishment and explores the impact of both common law and the Eighth Amendment on its implementation. In Part II, such issues as the discretion of the prosecutor, death penalty notice requirements, indictments, and the prosecuting of nontriggermen are covered. Court proceedings related to the death penalty are detailed in Part III, while Part IV examines laws related to execution.


Young Blood: Juvenile Justice and the Death Penalty

Written by Shirley Dicks; mother of Jeff Dicks who spent almost two decades on death row before dying in prison for lack of medical care.  Shirley Dicks has written several books on the death penalty and is the founder of the Jeff Dicks Medical Coalition.  -( notes by ccadp)


Punishment and the Death Penalty: The Current Debate (Contemporary Issues)

Baylor University philosophy professors Baird and Rosenbaum discuss the issue of capital punishment and analyze the reasons for and against the death penalty.


Race for Justice: Mumia Abu-Jamal's Fight Against the Death Penalty

In 1981 radio journalist and political activist Mumia Abu-Jamal was inadvertently involved in a late-night altercation that left police officer Donald Faulkner dead. By July of the next year, Judge Albert Sabo had convicted Abu-Jamal of Faulkner's murder and sentenced him to death. Almost 10 years after the trial, Leonard Weinglass, former Clarence Darrow Award-winner and the eventual chief counsel for the defense, has published Race for Justice, a complete set of the court documents he put together in an attempt to overturn Abu-Jamal's conviction. After a clarifying introduction by E.L. Doctorow that lays out the basic time line and facts, Weinglass has inserted two helpful lists defining key figures and legal terms. This short opening section is invaluable while reading through the legal papers that follow, increasing their accessibility to the layman reader as Weinglass unravels the prosecution's case. First, a "Statement of the Proceedings" shows how the Philadelphia police leaked erroneous and false information to the press. Then Weinglass details facts from the case that the prosecution either knowingly suppressed or inaccurately released, including key eyewitness testimony that the actual shooter fled the crime scene while Abu-Jamal lay wounded. He also shows evidence of police intimidation of key witnesses as well as incompetence in the medical examiner's report.   The evidence for Abu-Jamal's innocence mounts as the documents unfold. Judge Sabo, the Philadelphia police, and the prosecution team circumvented most of the precepts that we take for granted as pillars of the American justice system. Abu-Jamal, acting at first as his own attorney, was actually banished from the courtroom during important moments, including when one jury member was unfairly removed to reduce the number of African-American jurors.   Race for Justice is a frightening book. Weinglass makes a credible case that Abu-Jamal was sentenced to death only because he was once a Black Panther and is now a vocal activist. It's enough to make readers echo the book's last and most important question: How could this happen here?


The Death Penalty: Examining Issues Through Political Cartoons

Gr. 7-12. Humor is a powerful weapon for opening up discussion, and the Opposing Viewpoints series has always included a few small cartoons that add wry perspectives and some relief to the long essays and arguments. These slim paperbacks in the Examining Issues through Political Cartoons series focus on the cartoons themselves. There are no quick laughs or easy page-turners, but the graphics do provide witty, entertaining access to intense issues. Lots of detailed, serious commentary frames the cartoons, and each volume begins with a long introduction that includes a history of the debate as well as a summary of court decisions and current viewpoints. Then each chapter focuses on one topic and looks closely at a few cartoons in terms of the issues they raise, their cultural references, and how they skewer various viewpoints. (Is mercy killing good? Is euthanasia part of a slippery slope? Is the death penalty an outlet for vengeance?)


Choosing Mercy: A Mother of Murder Victims Pleads to End the Death Penalty

Sometimes the most eloquent opponents of the death penalty are those who have the most obvious personal reasons to demand this ultimate form of retribution: people who have lost loved ones in brutal, senseless crimes. In 1993 Bosco's son and his wife were shot and killed by an 18-year-old Montana neighbor. Bosco, a journalist, had long opposed the death penalty, partly because of family history, but the Montana murders made the issue even more central for her. Like some other family members of crime victims, Bosco found that forgiveness was an essential element of healing. She got involved in victim support groups and then prison visitation, becoming an activist, not simply for elimination of the death penalty, but also for radical reform of the prison system. Choosing Mercy is a highly personal story, describing Bosco's experiences and those of other parents and relatives Bosco has encountered in campaigning for a criminal justice system that would honor victims by blending justice with mercy. A valuable supplement to more academic studies of this issue.


Furman V. Georgia: The Death Penalty Case (Landmark Supreme Court Cases)

Gr 6-9-These three well-organized series entries summarize famous Supreme Court cases in understandable, clearly written texts. Each chronological narrative provides background information, the case itself, and the long-ranging impact it has had on our society. The books simplify the complicated proceedings so that students with no prior knowledge of them can follow the decisions. Unfamiliar terminology is explained in context; glossaries of legal terms are helpful, as well. The authors present both sides of each case fairly. Good-quality, black-and-white photographs of key players bring life to the texts. Worthwhile additions as adjuncts to social-studies units and as resources for reports


Furman V. Georgia: Fairness and the Death Penalty (Famous Trials)




 The Penalty Is Death: U.S. Newspaper Coverage of Women's Executions

The CCADP recommends this title.  The author, Marlin Shipman, has also written an extensive paper on the CCADPs prisoner websites.


Debating the Death Penalty: Should America Have Capital Punishment?: The Experts on Both Sides Make Their Best Case

When news breaks that a convicted murderer, released from prison, has killed again, or that an innocent person has escaped the death chamber in light of new DNA evidence, arguments about capital punishment inevitably heat up. Few controversies continue to stir as much emotion as this one, and public confusion is often the result. This volume brings together seven experts--judges, lawyers, prosecutors, and philosophers--to debate the death penalty in a spirit of open inquiry and civil discussion. Here, as the contributors present their reasons for or against capital punishment, the multiple facets of the issue are revealed in clear and thought-provoking detail. Is the death penalty a viable deterrent to future crimes? Does the imposition of lesser penalties, such as life imprisonment, truly serve justice in cases of the worst offences? Does the legal system discriminate against poor or minority defendants? Is the possibility of executing innocent persons sufficient grounds for abolition? In confronting such questions and making their arguments, the contributors marshal an impressive array of evidence, both statistical and from their own experiences working on death penalty cases. The book also includes the text of Governor George Ryan's March 2002 speech in which he explained why he had commuted the sentences of all prisoners on Illinois's death row. By representing the viewpoints of experts who face the vexing questions about capital punishment on a daily basis, Debating the Death Penalty makes a vital contribution to a more nuanced understanding of the moral and legal problems underlying this controversy.



Jurors' Stories of Death: How America's Death Penalty Invests in Inequality (Law, Meaning, and Violence)

Jurors’ Stories of Death is more than just another book about the death penalty; it is the first systematic survey of a rarely seen process—how jurors make the life or death decision.  Benjamin Fleury-Steiner draws on real-life accounts of white and black jurors in capital punishment trials to discuss the effect of race on the sentencing process. He finds that race is invariably a factor in sentencing, with jurors relying on narratives that deny the often marginalized defendants their individuality and complexity, while reinforcing the jurors’ own identities as superior, moral, and law-abiding citizens. It is a system that punishes in the name of dominance. This biased story of "us versus them" continues to infuse political rhetoric on crime and punishment in the U.S. even today.  Jurors’ Stories of Death concludes with an original argument for the abolition of the death penalty: If America values multiculturalism and cultural diversity, it must do away with institutions such as state-sanctioned capital punishment in order to begin to free itself from the racism, classicism, sexism, an homophobia that so insidiously plague social relations today.



Justice Denied: Clemency Appeals in Death Penalty Cases

Cathleen Burnett is Associate Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She is the editor of Older Offenders: Current Trends and the author of several articles on the death penalty.



The Death Penalty

Gr 7-9-A competent overview of the facts surrounding this highly charged and often-debated topic that addresses the statistics, the laws, and the shifts in public opinion. Gottfried looks at the moral and religious beliefs that call the practice into question and examines the public perception of violence; the risk of executing innocent people; the physical and mental agony of the condemned; the societal benefits of rehabilitation; and the inconsistent treatments of different ethnic, age, gender, and cultural groups. The writing is clear, if a bit dry. The information is easy to understand, even for those with only basic knowledge of the subject.


Death Penalty on Trial: A Handbook With Cases, Laws, and Documents



United States of America: Failing the Future: Death Penalty Developments, March 1998-March 2000



Equal Justice and the Death Penalty: A Legal and Empirical Analysis



Hanging in Judgment: Religion and the Death Penalty in England



The Modern Death Penalty: A Legal Research Guide (Legal Research Guides, Vol. 43.)



Unjust in the Much: The Death Penalty in North Carolina: A Symposium to Advance the Case for a Moratorium As Proposed by the American Bar Association

Unjust in the Much is an edited transcript of a Symposium sponsored by North Carolinians Against the Death Penalty, an umbrella organization of thirteen civic and religious groups opposed to capital punishment. Among the subjects covered: the demographics of Death Row, race and class as factors in convictions, and the enduring dispute over the constitutionality of the death penalty. The title comes from Luke XVI: "...and he that is unjust in the least is also unjust in the much." Editor Biography: Calvin Kytle has worked as a newspaperman, public relations executive for a major U.S. corporation, deputy director of a federal civil rights agency, and a Washington DC communications consultant. Daniel H. Pollitt is an emeritus professor of Constitutional Law at the University of North Carolina. Professor Pollitt frequently left the classroom to serve as defense attorney in capital cases to represent clients among the poor, disfranchised, and disabled on issues of free speech and civil liberties.


Race, Racism and the Death Penalty in the U.S.



Teens and the Death Penalty (Issues in Focus)

Grade 8-10-- A readable and well-documented account of capital punishment and its specific relation to juvenile offenders. Landau provides a historical overview of the establishment of the death penalty in the U. S., discusses the reasons people favor or oppose it, describes of the various methods of execution, and cites flaws in the legal system that allow errors to occur. She addresses the suspicious connection between race, poverty, and capital punishment; risk factors experienced by teens that are associated with violent crime; and provides a summation of the international perspective and the United Nations position. Many titles deal with this core subject, but few cover its specific relationship to juveniles. The Death Penalty (Greenhaven, 1989) offers one article on each side of the issue. A list of further reading includes periodical citations. Useful for reports and debate on an issue of current and continued concern.


Is the Death Penalty an Effective Punishment




United States of America: The Death Penalty

Published by Amnesty International.


A Life for a Life: Death Penalty on Trial





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