Decline of the Death Penalty and the Discovery of Innocence

ISBN-10: 0521715245
ISBN-13: 9780521715249
Edition: 2008
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Description: Since 1996, death sentences in America have declined more than 60 percent, reversing a generation-long trend toward greater acceptance of capital punishment. In theory, most Americans continue to support the death penalty. But it is no longer seen  More...

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Book details

List price: $35.99
Copyright year: 2008
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 1/7/2008
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 310
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.276
Language: English

Since 1996, death sentences in America have declined more than 60 percent, reversing a generation-long trend toward greater acceptance of capital punishment. In theory, most Americans continue to support the death penalty. But it is no longer seen as a theoretical matter. Prosecutors, judges, and juries across the country have moved in large numbers to give much greater credence to the possibility of mistakes -- mistakes that in this arena are potentially fatal. The discovery of innocence, documented here through painstaking analyses of media coverage and with newly developed methods, has led to historic shifts in public opinion and to a sharp decline in use of the death penalty by juries across the country. A social cascade, starting with legal clinics and innocence projects, has snowballed into a national phenomenon that may spell the end of the death penalty in America.

Frank R. Baumgartner is a highly respected political scientist with a long list of scholarly writings based on his research interests. He was born in 1958 and educated at the University of Michigan (B.A., 1980; M.A., 1983; Ph.D., 1986). Included in his works are political planning, political jurisdictions, legislative behavior, comparative politics, French politics, American national institutions, and research design and measurement. Two of Baumgartner's better known books are Agendas and Instability in American Politics (1993), an account of how public policies can change rapidly even in established institutions; and Survey Research and Membership in Voluntary Organizations (1988), a study of the political action of lobbying and interest groups. Basic Interests: The Importance of Groups in Politics and in Political Science written with Beth L. Leech, is a work that reviews books and articles about interest groups from 1940 to the present, and examines the methodology of political scientists. The authors conclude that in order to improve the methodology of political scientists better research questions are needed along with more attention to the context of group behavior. Baumgartner is a professor of Political Science at Texas A&M University.

Suzanna L. De Boef is Associate Professor of Political Science at Penn State University. Her research examines the dynamics of public opinion, elections, and public policy and the statistical methods used to analyze them. Her work has appeared in journals such as the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Politics, Political Analysis, and Statistics in Medicine.

Amber Boydstun is assistant professor of political science at the University of California, Davis. She is a coauthor of The Decline of the Death Penalty and the Discovery of Innocence.

List of Tables
List of Figures
Acknowledgments
Innocence and the Death Penalty Debate
The Death Penalty in America
A Chronology of Innocence
The Shifting Terms of Debate
Innocence, Resonance, and Old Arguments Made New Again
Public Opinion
The Rise and Fall of a Public Policy
Conclusion
Epilogue: Individuals Exonerated from Death Row
New York Times Capital Punishment Coverage, 1960 to 2005
Description of Data
Notes
References
Index

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