Against Capital Punishment: The Anti-Death Penalty Movement in America, 1972-1994

By Herbert H. Haines | Go to book overview

Notes

Introduction
1.
Throughout this book, the terms "capital punishment," "the death penalty," and "executions" refer to judicial executions, that is, legally sanctioned killings by state agents of persons who have been convicted of criminal offenses. It is this form of above-board, "legitimate" execution that is in decline worldwide. Regrettably, the same cannot be said for extrajudicial executions, which are carried out by clandestine state agents, such as "death squads," acting outside of legal systems.
2.
For the most part, surveys have measured support for capital punishment only at an abstract level. Since 1986, a number of polls have found that very large numbers of death penalty supporters actually prefer nonlethal alternatives for convicted murderers, especially life sentences without possibility of parole. This issue will be discussed in detail in later chapters.
3.
Interview, November 18, 1992.
4.
Not all these elites were absolute "abolitionists" in the contemporary sense: they did not all wish to banish the gallows from the American landscape altogether. Clearly Rush assumed such a stance, and Franklin probably agreed. The extent of Jefferson's opposition to capital punishment is less clear. He admired Beccaria and his writings on crime and punishment, but had proposed only the reduction of the number of capital crimes when he drafted a Virginia criminal code during the Revolution. John Jay and James Madison also sought the reform of criminal laws and the limitation of the death penalty ( Masur 1989).
5.
Among the recommendations in the commission's report were that hanging be retained as the method of execution in Great Britain, that juries be given the discretion to decide between the penalties of death or life imprisonment, as in the United States, and that the crime of murder not be subdivided into degrees. Although the report of the Royal Commission helped revive the American anti-death penalty movement, British abolitionists were not at all enthusiastic about it. For example, the Howard League, one of the leading abolitionist organizations in that country, only reluctantly and belatedly endorsed the report ( Cristoph 1962:85-90).
6.
Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S. 153 ( 1976); Jurek v. Texas, 428 U.S. 262 ( 1976); Proffitt v. Florida, 428 U.S. 242 ( 1976).
7.
Some of these organizations, such as the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and Law Enforcement Against Death, are dedicated exclusively to the abolition of capital punishment. Many others include ADP work as only one of many

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Against Capital Punishment: The Anti-Death Penalty Movement in America, 1972-1994
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • Introduction: Death Penalty Abolitionism in America 3
  • 1 - The Fall and Rise of Capital Punishment: 1965-1976 23
  • 2 - The Return of the Executioner: 1976-1982 55
  • Summary 71
  • 3 - The Reemergence of Political Abolitionism 73
  • 4 - Framing Disputes in the Movement Against Capital Punishment 117
  • 5 - Abolitionism at the Crossroads 148
  • 6 - Reframing Capital Punishment: Pragmatic Abolitionism 167
  • Notes 197
  • References 221
  • Index 239
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