This in-depth yet highly accessible books provides compelling human stories that illuminate the thorny legal issues behind the most noteworthy capital cases. In 1969, the Supreme Court justices cast votes in secret that could have signaled the end of the death penalty. Later, the justices’ resolve began to unravel. Why? What were the consequences for the rule of law and for the life at stake in the case? These are some of the fascinating questions answered in Murder at the Supreme Court. Veteran journalists Martin Clancy and Tim O’Brien not only pull back the curtain of secrecy that surrounds Supreme Court deliberations but also reveal the crucial links between landmark capital-punishment cases and the lethal crimes at their root. The authors take readers to crime scenes, holding cells, jury rooms, autopsy suites, and execution chambers to provide true-life reporting on vicious criminals and the haphazard judicial system that punishes them. The cases reported are truly "the cases that made the law." They have defined the parameters that judges must follow for a death sentence to stand up on appeal. Beyond the obvious questions regarding the dubious deterrent effect of capital punishment or whether retribution is sufficient justification for the death penalty (regardless of the heinous nature of the crimes committed), the cases and crimes examined in this book raise other confounding issues: Is lethal injection really more humane than other methods of execution? Should a mentally ill killer be forcibly medicated to make him "well enough" to be executed? How does the race of the perpetrator or the victim influence sentencing? Is heinous rape a capital crime? How young is too young to be executed?
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|Title of eBook: Murder at the Supreme Court|
|Release Date: 02-19-2013|
|Publisher: Prometheus Books|
This eBook download is available in the following formats:
|Parent title||Murder at the...|
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Murder at the Supreme Court
Chapter OneTHE ROAD TO THE DEATH HOUSE
He that upon pretended malice, shall murther or take away the life of any man, shall bee punished with death.
No man shal commit the horrible, and detestable sins of Sodomie upon pain of death; and he or she that can be lawfully convict of Adultery shall be punished with death. No man shall ravish or force any woman, maid or Indian, or other, upon pain of death.
—Articles, Lawes, and Orders, Divine, Politique, and Martiall for the Colony in Virgínea, first established by Sir Thomas Gates Knight, Lieutenant General, on May 24, 1610
Odd as it may seem, the prison system in the United States, now straining at the seams and ripe for reforms, came into being as a reform itself of corporal and capital punishment. The merits and faults of capital punishment have been debated from Plymouth Rock to Capitol Hill, with great passion and without resolution. The Supreme Court, the ultimate arbiter of constitutionality, has grappled with the legitimacy of the death penalty since 1879. The Court has banned "cruel and unusual punishment," forbidden by the Eighth Amendment, but struggles with the definition of that term and its application to capital punishment. It is a struggle that has its roots deep in the country's history.
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The first known execution on what is now American soil occurred in 1608. Captain George Kendall was put to death on charges of spying for Spain; the execution was by firing squad. Fourteen years later, Daniel Frank was hanged in Jamestown for stealing a calf; this execution was the first sanctioned by colonial law and was carried out...