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Unit 4-Chapter 17
Chapter 17: Capital Punishment

History of the Death Penalty in America | Public Opinion on the Death Penalty | Recent Developments in Capital Punishment

History of the Death Penalty in America

Capital Punishment Statistics Statistics and links to publications on the death penalty. (Bureau of Justice Statistics)
NCJRS: Capital Punishment Publications and links from the federal government. (National Criminal Justice Reference Service)
Capital Punishment An extensive slide show reviewing many aspects of capital punishment.
Death Penalty Information A high school curriculum on the death penalty, including a Teacher Edition. (Michigan State Comm Tech Lab and Death Penalty Information Center)
History & Recent Developments Good overview from the University of Alaska, Anchorage.
History of the Death Penalty (PBS Frontline)
History of the Death Penalty (Death Penalty Information Center)
Capital Punishment in the United States A history and many links. (Close Up Foundation)
A Brief History of Wisconsin’s Death Penalty The history of the state that has been without the death penalty the longest.
Law about the Death Penalty Legal information, including statutes and case law, about the death penalty. (Legal Information Institute)
Capital Punishment/ Death Penalty FAQs Questions and answers about the death penalty. (National Center for State Courts)
Exploring Constitutional Conflicts: The Death Penalty
An overview and links
related to the issue: Is the death penalty consistent with the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against the imposition of cruel and unusual punishments?
Furman v. Georgia (1972) U.S. Supreme Court case declaring death penalty unconstitutional as it was then applied in the United States.
Gregg v. Georgia (1976) U.S. Supreme Court case ruling constitutional death-penalty laws that allowed jurors to weigh mitigating and aggravating circumstances.
McCleskey v. Kemp (1987) U.S. Supreme Court case holding that statistical variation in death penalty no enough to prove discrimination.
Murray v. Giarratano (1989) U.S. Supreme Court case ruling that death-row inmates have no right to free legal assistance after an initial round of appeals.
Coleman v. Thompson (1991) U.S. Supreme Court case ruling that inmates may lose their right to appeal if they make procedural errors.
U.S. Supreme Court cases holding that inmates may not take advantage of rule changes made after they have exhausted their appeals:

Teague v. Lane (1989)
Butler v. McKellar (1990)
Saffle v. Parks (1990)

Penry v. Lynaugh (1989) U.S. Supreme Court case holding that the death penalty can be applied to mentally retarded criminals. The U.S. Supreme Court overruled this case in Atkins v. Virginia (2002). The court in a 6–3 decision stated that a consensus seems to have been reached in the United States against executing mentally retarded criminals.
Beyond Reason: The Death Penalty and Offenders with Mental Retardation A 2001 report (before the Atkins decision) opposing the death penalty for mentally retarded criminals. (Human Rights Watch)
Payne v. Tennessee (1991) U.S. Supreme Court case allowing victim-impact statements in death-penalty hearings.
Herrera v. Collins (1993) U.S. Supreme Court case ruling that inmates may not get a hearing on new-found evidence unless the evidence overwhelming proves their innocence.
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act Summary of its provisions.
Felker v. Turpin (1996) This U.S. Supreme Court case decided that the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996's limitation on habeas corpus does not violate the U.S. Constitution.
Williams, Terry v. Taylor (2000) U.S. Supreme Court case ruling that a defendant had been deprived of effective counsel when his attorney failed to mention important mitigating factors at his sentencing hearing.
Williams, Michael Wayne v. Taylor (2000) U.S. Supreme Court case ruling that a defendant did not receive a fair trial when it was not disclosed that a member of the jury knew the sheriff and prosecutor.
Ring v. Arizona (2002) The U.S. Supreme Court held that juries, not judges, must decide whether to impose the death penalty.
A Broken System: Error Rates in Capital Cases, 1973–1995 This statistical study, conducted by Professor James Liebman of the Columbia University School of Law, found that death penalty cases take so long in appeals “because American capital sentences are so persistently and systematically fraught with error that seriously undermines their reliability.”
Death Penalty Trial Flaws News report on the Liebman study. (CBS News)
Study Fails to Prove That Death Penalty Is Unfair Article from Claremont Institute arguing that Leibman’s study is deeply flawed.
The Death Penalty More than 1,000 links to death penalty sites. (Prosecuting Attorney for Clark County)
The Death Penalty Information about the death penalty from an anti-death penalty perspective. (Amnesty International)
Death Penalty and Sentencing Info Information about the death penalty from a pro-death penalty point of view. (Justice for All)
Death Penalty Archives The capital punishment archives of a liberal legal blog. (TalkLeft)
Focus on the Death Penalty Links on all aspects of capital punishment. (Justice Center, University of Alaska Anchorage)
Reasonable Doubts: A Special Report on the Death Penalty Links to articles from a liberal perspective. (Moving Ideas)
Special Report: Capital Punishment Reports and News on the death penalty. (CBS News)
Topix: Death Penalty News on capital punishment.
Wikipedia: Capital Punishment
Encyclopedia of Everyday Law: Death Penalty

Public Opinion on the Death Penalty

Death Penalty Polls Polls on the death penalty. Scroll down. (The Polling Report)
Gallup Poll: Death Penalty Subscription required.

Recent Developments in Capital Punishment

Capital Punishment Statistics The latest statistics and publications on the death penalty. (Bureau of Justice Statistics)
Topix: Death Penalty News The latest news related to the death penalty.
Karla Faye Tucker Extensive article.
Karla Faye Tucker: Texas’ Controversial Murderess A biography of Tucker. (Court TV’s Crime Library)
Texas Death Row Information Statistics about the prisoners currently on death row in Texas, including gender and racial statistics. (Texas Department of Criminal Justice)
The Execution The execution of self-confessed double murderer Clifford Boggess is examined. (PBS’s Frontline)
Growing Doubts About the Death Penalty This 2000 National Journal article by William Schneider discusses the changing politics of capital punishment.
Can the Death Penalty Be Saved From Its Supporters? This article argues that proponents of the death penalty should support steps to reduce doubts about the guilt of those sentenced to death. (National Journal)
The Unkillable Death Penalty This article argues that with DNA evidence, which allows guilt to be more conclusively proven, the death penalty will be harder to abolish. (Slate)
Innocence Project Run by the Cardozo School of Law, this project attempts to provide free legal assistance to those seeking to prove their innocence through DNA tests.
Justice Derailed The series that exposed errors and incompetence surrounding the implementation of the death penalty in Illinois. Before you can read this, you must scroll to the bottom of the special reports to find this one, click on it, and register for free. (Chicago Tribune)
PBS Newshour Reports on the Death Penalty in Illinois:

Justice Reconsidered
Case for Clemency?
Limiting Executions
Update Death Penalty
Illinois Death Penalty

Illinois Wrongful Capital Murder Convictions Profiles of each of the prisoners on Illinois’ death row who were released because of court findings of strong evidence of innocence.
Death Penalty Debate A 2000 interview with two governors, Republicans George Ryan of Illinois and Frank Keating of Oklahoma, and two U.S. Senators, Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). (PBS Online Newshour)
The Wrong Man This 1999 article argues that it is highly likely that innocent people will be executed in America. (Atlantic Monthly)
Innocence Cases Archive The archives of liberal legal blog relating to wrongful convictions. (TalkLeft)
Truth in Justice A non-profit organization that educates “the public regarding the vulnerabilities in the U. S. criminal justice system that make the criminal conviction of wholly innocent persons possible.”
Center on Wrongful Convictions The center is “dedicated to identifying and rectifying wrongful convictions and other serious miscarriages of justice.” (Northwestern University School of Law)
Innocence and the Death Penalty Links to information on wrongful convictions. (Death Penalty Information Center)
“Innocence” and the Death Penalty Article questioning the claims of anti-death penalty activists. (Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association Newsletter)
Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Project A project working to obtain a nationwide moratorium on executions. (American Bar Association)
Death Penalty Senator Russ Feingold’s site with references to his proposed moratorium on executions.
Innocence Protection Act Senator Patrick Leahy’s site in favor of the act.
Articles on Death Penalty Deterrence Abstracts and links to articles and studies on the deterrent effect of the death penalty. (Criminal Justice Legal Foundation)
Murders of Passion, Execution Delays, and the Deterrence of Capital Punishment (PDF file) One of the studies on the deterrent effect of the death penalty. (Clemson University)
Facts about Deterrence and the Death Penalty Links to studies and articles critical of the belief that the death penalty deters murders. (Death Penalty Information Center)
New Claims about Executions and General Deterrence: Déjà Vu All Over Again? (PDF file) A 2005 critical review of the deterrence studies. (Richard Berk)
Death Penalty Reading Center An incredible collection of links to articles on the death penalty. (Law-forensic.com)
Death Penalty on Trial The latest news, background, court cases, statistics, and documents. (Court TV)
Life or Death Decision A 2003 interview with author Scott Turow who tells how he developed the belief that our nation’s experiment with the death penalty has failed. (Atlantic Monthly)
Nation: Death Penalty Links to anti-death penalty articles. (Nation magazine)
Religion, Politics, and the Death Penalty A 2002 discussion on the death penalty between U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and then-U.S. Senator from Illinois Paul Simon. (Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life)
Justice Learning: Death Penalty Articles, editorials, and oral debate from journalists and advocates. (NPR and New York Times)
Academic Info: Death Penalty / Capital Punishment A directory of online resources on the death penalty.
Suite 101: Death Penalty Links to recent articles on capital punishment.
Death Penalty Reconsidered News articles on the death penalty. (Washington Post)
Death Penalty Information Center An anti-death penalty site.
Pro-Death Penalty A resource for pro-death penalty information.
Death Penalty Information Links to pro-death penalty articles, briefs, cases, and other information. (Criminal Justice Legal Foundation)
The Death Penalty: Pro and Con Articles on both sides of the capital-punishment issue. (PBS Frontline)
Yahoo Directory: Death Penalty Links.