DEATH IN THE BALANCE The Debate over Capital Punishment

Author: Hook (Donald D.) & Kahn (Lthar)
Year: 1989
Publisher: Lexington Books
Edition Details: 1st US Edn.
Book Condition: NrF/F
ISBN: 0669209058
Price: 15.00
Hardback. 1st US edn. A bitter war was raging in the United States over the question of the death penalty. The intensity of this debate had been brought sharply into focus with the execution of Ted Bundy and calls for the execution of drug kingpins. Opinion polls reported that more than half of the population of the United States favoured the death penalty, while the remainder were for imprisonment without parole. Proponents of capital punishment felt it was a strong deterrent to crime and insisted that criminals should pay for their crimes, even if it meant taking their lives. Those who viewed this as immoral claimed the death penalty had done little to reduce the crime rate. Frequently both groups relied on debatable evidence, and their opinions were based largely on emotion. While public opinion had wavered on this issue throughout the past, US history showed that current tendencies leant more and more to a conservative position. States that previously barred the death penalty restored it in the late 1970s and early 1980s, despite developments in other Western societies that had abolished it. The attempt on President Reagan's life in 1981 further intensified public demand for reinstatement of the death penalty. The emotional complexity of the issue left it wide open for controversy and impassioned debate. The finality of death as punishment, the loss of possible innocent persons, rights of victims versus those of criminals, the difference between a crime of passion and one in cold blood, the method of execution and the cost of life imprisonment - all were problems that challenged a person's ability to form an opinion in accordance with his or her values. Issues such as racial discrimination, the killer's motive, and desire for revenge further complicated the issue. The authors recognised the pressing need for accurate, unbiased information on the death penalty. Their insightful and thought-provoking book highlights the complexities of the problem by examining the moral, philosophical, legal, and practical arguments, and by providing evidence for and against capital punishment as a deterrent to crime. To put the issue in historical perspective, the authors also analyse landmark cases that have sparked controversy and have had a profound impact on criminal law. With Notes, Bibliog. and Index. 131pp. 8vo. h/back. With signs of b/plate remval to fpd o/w Nr. F. in F. dw.


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