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Murder and Its Consequences

Essays on Capital Punishment in America


Publication Year: 2010

The essays in Murder and Its Consequences span several periods in the history of capital punishment in America and the professional career of Leigh Bienen, a leading researcher on the death penalty.

Published by: Northwestern University Press

Title Page/Copyright/Dedication

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pp. vii

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pp. ix-xiii

I vividly remember the moment I first met Leigh Bienen so many years ago. It seems odd in retrospect to recall the rather low-key impetus for our introduction, given the impact that Leigh would later have on my career. But like many aspects of people’s lives, big things happen when we least expect or even welcome them. So let me tell you my story about Leigh—a tale of ...

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pp. xv

The author gratefully acknowledges the continued support of many, including those at the Northwestern University School of Law: Dean David Van Zandt, Christine Rosso, Esq., librarians Marcia Lehr and Pegeen Bassett, Juana Haskin, Cecilia Torres, and my research assistants and students over the years, as well as the many, many others at Northwestern and elsewhere who have assisted and supported this research. ...

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Introduction: Murder, the Rule of Law,and the Tale of the Little Red Hen

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pp. xvii-xxix

The test of the integrity, the authority of a society, its core identity, is its legal system: the government’s ability to control violence, to impose order over lawlessness. Th ere is killing among all men, in all societies. War seems to be endemic. Whenever men have enough to eat, they kill one another, hoard wealth, and build larger, more intricate and expensive weapons, what we now ...

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CHAPTER 1: “A Good Murder”

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pp. 3-22

A sense of fairness and an outrage over injustice are emotions expressed strongly and clearly by young children in all cultures. People are profoundly interested in crimes because the law and legal punishments are supposed to address that fundamental human craving for justice. A legal system is set up to define prohibited behavior and punish criminals because we want to live in ...

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CHAPTER 2: Not Wiser After Thirty-Five Years of Contemplating the Death Penalty

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pp. 23-58

This is an autobiographical essay provoked by the question: is the death penalty dying? Four illustrative case studies from my experience as a researcher on homicide and capital punishment over the past thirty-five years are an occasion to reflect upon my experience with capital punishment in very different circumstances over what seems like a long period of time. One theme is ...

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CHAPTER 3: Anomalies: Ritual and Language in Lethal Injection Regulations

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pp. 59-74

When a horse, a cow, a dog, or a grizzly bear is killed under the authority of the government, or by a private party in a planned euthanasia, the veterinarian performing the execution will follow euthanasia guidelines adopted by the American Veterinary Medical Association (“AVMA Guidelines”) for the method of euthanasia to be used, including any drugs, restraints, and anesthetics ...

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CHAPTER 4: The Quality of Justice in Capital Cases:Illinois as a Case Study

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pp. 75-90

The federal constitutionality and moral authority of state capital punishment schemes are predicated upon the assumption that the system of state court appeals is thorough, reliable, and honest.1 The relatively recent restrictions on the availability of federal habeas corpus have removed the possibility of federal court review to “correct,” or adjust for deficiencies in, the ...

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CHAPTER 5: The Proportionality Review of Capital Cases by State High Courts After GREGG: Only “the Appearance of Justice”

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pp. 91-142

In the twenty years after the U.S. Supreme Court approved the parameters for the reimposition of capital punishment in Gregg v. Georgia1 and its accompanying cases,2 state and federal courts have been presented with constitutional challenges to capital punishment based upon statistical evidence of racial and geographic disparities in state capital case processing systems.3 These challenges ...


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pp. 143-223

About the Author

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E-ISBN-13: 9780810164826
Print-ISBN-13: 9780810126978
Print-ISBN-10: 0810126974

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2010

Edition: New
Volume Title: 1