Debating the Death Penalty: Should America Have Capital Punishment? The Experts on Both Sides Make Their Best Case

Oxford University Press
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When news breaks that a convicted murderer, released from prison, has killed again, or that an innocent person has escaped the death chamber in light of new DNA evidence, arguments about capital punishment inevitably heat up. Few controversies continue to stir as much emotion as this one, and public confusion is often the result. This volume brings together seven experts--judges, lawyers, prosecutors, and philosophers--to debate the death penalty in a spirit of open inquiry and civil discussion. Here, as the contributors present their reasons for or against capital punishment, the multiple facets of the issue are revealed in clear and thought-provoking detail. Is the death penalty a viable deterrent to future crimes? Does the imposition of lesser penalties, such as life imprisonment, truly serve justice in cases of the worst offences? Does the legal system discriminate against poor or minority defendants? Is the possibility of executing innocent persons sufficient grounds for abolition? In confronting such questions and making their arguments, the contributors marshal an impressive array of evidence, both statistical and from their own experiences working on death penalty cases. The book also includes the text of Governor George Ryan's March 2002 speech in which he explained why he had commuted the sentences of all prisoners on Illinois's death row. By representing the viewpoints of experts who face the vexing questions about capital punishment on a daily basis, Debating the Death Penalty makes a vital contribution to a more nuanced understanding of the moral and legal problems underlying this controversy.
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About the author

Hugo Adam Bedau is Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, at Tufts University and editor of The Death Penalty in America: Current Controversies. Paul Cassell is a U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Utah and Professor of Law at the University of Utah College of Law.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Mar 24, 2005
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9780199741007
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Language
English
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Genres
Law / Criminal Law / General
Political Science / General
Social Science / Criminology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, USA TODAY, AND CHICAGO TRIBUNE • A masterly work of literary journalism about a senseless murder, a relentless detective, and the great plague of homicide in America

NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • The Washington Post • The Boston Globe • The Economist • The Globe and Mail • BookPage • Kirkus Reviews

On a warm spring evening in South Los Angeles, a young man is shot and killed on a sidewalk minutes away from his home, one of the thousands of black Americans murdered that year. His assailant runs down the street, jumps into an SUV, and vanishes, hoping to join the scores of killers in American cities who are never arrested for their crimes.

But as soon as the case is assigned to Detective John Skaggs, the odds shift.

Here is the kaleidoscopic story of the quintessential, but mostly ignored, American murder—a “ghettoside” killing, one young black man slaying another—and a brilliant and driven cadre of detectives whose creed is to pursue justice for forgotten victims at all costs. Ghettoside is a fast-paced narrative of a devastating crime, an intimate portrait of detectives and a community bonded in tragedy, and a surprising new lens into the great subject of why murder happens in our cities—and how the epidemic of killings might yet be stopped.

Praise for Ghettoside

“A serious and kaleidoscopic achievement . . . [Jill Leovy is] a crisp writer with a crisp mind and the ability to boil entire skies of information into hard journalistic rain.”—Dwight Garner, The New York Times

“Masterful . . . gritty reporting that matches the police work behind it.”—Los Angeles Times

“Moving and engrossing.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“Penetrating and heartbreaking . . . Ghettoside points out how relatively little America has cared even as recently as the last decade about the value of young black men’s lives.”—USA Today

“Functions both as a snappy police procedural and—more significantly—as a searing indictment of legal neglect . . . Leovy’s powerful testimony demands respectful attention.”—The Boston Globe

“Gritty, heart-wrenching . . . Everyone needs to read this book.”—Michael Connelly

“Ghettoside is remarkable: a deep anatomy of lawlessness.”—Atul Gawande, author of Being Mortal

“[Leovy writes] with grace and artistry, and controlled—but bone-deep—outrage in her new book. . . . The most important book about urban violence in a generation.”—The Washington Post

“Riveting . . . This timely book could not be more important.”—Associated Press

“Leovy’s relentless reporting has produced a book packed with valuable, hard-won insights—and it serves as a crucial, 366-page reminder that ‘black lives matter.’ ”—The New York Times Book Review

“A compelling analysis of the factors behind the epidemic of black-on-black homicide . . . an important book, which deserves a wide audience.”—Hari Kunzru, The Guardian


From the Hardcover edition.
*SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING REESE WITHERSPOON AND COLIN FIRTH *

The West Memphis Three. Accused, convicted…and set free. Do you know their story?

In 2011, one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in American legal history was set right when Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley were released after eighteen years in prison. Award-winning journalist Mara Leveritt’s The Devil’s Knot remains the most comprehensive, insightful reporting ever done on the investigation, trials, and convictions of three teenage boys who became known as the West Memphis Three.

For weeks in 1993, after the murders of three eight-year-old boys, police in West Memphis, Arkansas seemed stymied. Then suddenly, detectives charged three teenagers—alleged members of a satanic cult—with the killings. Despite the witch-hunt atmosphere of the trials, and a case which included stunning investigative blunders, a confession riddled with errors, and an absence of physical evidence linking any of the accused to the crime, the teenagers were convicted. Jurors sentenced Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley to life in prison and Damien Echols, the accused ringleader, to death. The guilty verdicts were popular in their home state—even upheld on appeal—and all three remained in prison until their unprecedented release in August 2011.

With close-up views of its key participants, this award-winning account unravels the many tangled knots of this endlessly shocking case, one which will shape the American legal landscape for years to come.
◆當法律碰上道德,三個生死抉擇的狀況,你的選擇會是什麼?

◆理性判斷vs.良心煎熬;一場場猶如心理劇場的法律裁判

◆輔大法律學系教授 吳豪人

◆中正大學哲學系教授 謝世民  

◆台大法律學院教授 顏厥安——專文推薦


案例一︰輪船翻覆,一艘只能搭載24人的救生艇擠進40人,要拯救最多人命,必須將16人拋入海。誰該被犧牲?


案例二︰5名洞穴探險者受困山洞,水盡糧絕。他們決定抽籤選定1人供其他4人分食以求最多人活命。但有人反悔退出,怎麼辦?


案例三︰20個印第安人的命運掌握在1名外來者手中,他要嘛手刃其中一人而讓其他19人獲釋,要嘛拒絕執行而由槍手將20人全斃了。他該如何選擇?

 

要針對以上每一個案例提出明確的解決辦法是極其困難的,它們的核心問題都在於︰「在這樣的情況下,一個人應該做什麼?為什麼?」這樣的問題帶我們進一步思考,解決法律爭議是否需要道德理論?法律爭議可否被化約為道德問題,並以道德推理的方式加以解決嗎?


本書的原型是雨果.亞當.貝鐸教授於一九九五年春天在杜夫特大學開設的一系列講座。貝鐸教授在講座中選了三個著名的案例,包括真實發生的「美國訴霍姆斯案」,也有經典的虛構案例「洞穴奇案」和「吉姆的困境」,旨在讓讀者思考:當遭遇特殊情形,無論怎樣選擇都會導致有人喪生,我們該如何面對這樣的道德兩難?藉由理性的邏輯推演和真真切切的良心煎熬,貝多教授展示了「道德決疑法」這種已有千年歷史的倫理分析方法在當代依然具有影響力。


目的除了探索道德理論在司法過程中的角色,也為法律人與一般大眾增加哲學內涵,讓我們更加認識自己信仰的原則。 



出版社 商周出版 (城邦)

The answer, to crew and passengers aboard the sinking lifeboat, must have seemed both grimly obvious and unthinkably alien. To save the lives of many, the lives of some would have to be sacrificed. With seawater crashing over the gunwhales, only a lightening of the human cargo would keep the craft afloat. In a procedure that took much of the night, fourteen men and two women were consigned to watery graves. This notorious event, aftermath to the sinking of the William Brown in 1841, represents a shocking example of life and death decision-making, a case where cruel circumstance would seem to argue the permissibility of taking innocent human life. In Making Mortal Choices, philosopher Hugo Bedau examines this case as well as two similar cases of hypothetical origin, generating a remarkably clear and accessible demonstration of philosophical reasoning in cases where it must be decided who ought to survive when not all can. Bedau's approach, a form of practical ethics descended from the ancient (and oft-misunderstood) method of casuistry, involves solving complex moral problems in careful analytic increments and only after a broad canvassing of possibilities, rather than through the top-down application of some general moral theory or principle. Aimed at both general readers and philosophers interested in the revival of casuistic method, Making Mortal Choices illuminates not only how we reason in life and death situations, but also how we ought to reason if we wish both to be consistent and to properly respect human life.
When news breaks that a convicted murderer, released from prison, has killed again, or that an innocent person has escaped the death chamber in light of new DNA evidence, arguments about capital punishment inevitably heat up. Few controversies continue to stir as much emotion as this one, and public confusion is often the result. This volume brings together seven experts--judges, lawyers, prosecutors, and philosophers--to debate the death penalty in a spirit of open inquiry and civil discussion. Here, as the contributors present their reasons for or against capital punishment, the multiple facets of the issue are revealed in clear and thought-provoking detail. Is the death penalty a viable deterrent to future crimes? Does the imposition of lesser penalties, such as life imprisonment, truly serve justice in cases of the worst offences? Does the legal system discriminate against poor or minority defendants? Is the possibility of executing innocent persons sufficient grounds for abolition? In confronting such questions and making their arguments, the contributors marshal an impressive array of evidence, both statistical and from their own experiences working on death penalty cases. The book also includes the text of Governor George Ryan's March 2002 speech in which he explained why he had commuted the sentences of all prisoners on Illinois's death row. By representing the viewpoints of experts who face the vexing questions about capital punishment on a daily basis, Debating the Death Penalty makes a vital contribution to a more nuanced understanding of the moral and legal problems underlying this controversy.
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