The Death Penalty: Opposing Viewpoints

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The Death Penalty: Opposing Viewpoints is a book in the Opposing Viewpoints series. It presents selections of contrasting viewpoints on the death penalty: first surveying centuries of debate on it; then questioning whether it is just; whether it is an effective deterrent; and whether it is applied fairly. It was edited by Mary E. Williams.

Now in its sixth edition, it was published by Greenhaven Press of San Diego in 2006. Earlier editions were published in 1986, 1991, 1997, 1998, and 2002.

Contents of the 2002 edition[edit]

Chapter Viewpoint Author Notes
Why Consider Opposing Viewpoints?
Chapter 1: Three Centuries of Debate on the Death Penalty 1. The Death Penalty Will Discourage Crime (1701) Paper presented before the English parliament Excerpt from Hanging Not Punishment Enough for Murtherers, High-way Men, and House-Breakers [1] (Transaction Publishers, 1990, hardcover ISBN 0-88738-369-6 and paperback ISBN 0-88738-858-2).
2. The Death Penalty Will Not Discourage Crime (1764) Cesare Beccaria Excerpt from An Essay on Crimes and Punishments [2].
3. Society Must Retain the Death Penalty for Murder (1868) John Stuart Mill Excerpt from "Speech In Favor of Capital Punishment," in Hansard's Parliamentary Debate.
4. The Death Penalty Is State-Sanctioned Murder (1872) Horace Greeley Excerpt from Hints Toward Reforms: In Lectures, Addresses, and Other Writings (Fowlers and Wells, 1853; Elibron Classics, 2005, paperback, ISBN 1-4021-7271-0).
5. Capital Punishment Is a Safeguard for Society (1925) Robert E. Crowe Excerpt from "Capital Punishment Protects Society," The Forum, February 1925.
6. Capital Punishment Will Not Safeguard Society (1928) Clarence Darrow Excerpt from "The Futility of the Death Penalty," The Forum, September 1928.
Chapter 2: Is the Death Penalty Just? 1. The Death Penalty Is Unjust Progressive From "The Case Against the Death Penalty," editorial, The Progressive, February 2000.
2. The Death Penalty Is Just Ernest van den Haag Excerpt from "Justice, Deterrence, and the Death Penalty," chapter 5 of America's Experiment With Capital Punishment: Reflections on the Past, Present, and Future of the Ultimate Penal Sanction, edited by James R. Acker, Robert M. Bohm, and Charles S. Lanier (Carolina Academic Press, 1998, ISBN 0-89089-651-8; 2003, ISBN 0-89089-064-1).
3. The Death Penalty Violates the Sanctity of Life John Kavanaugh From "Killing Persons, Killing Ethics," America, July 19–26, 1997.
4. The Death Penalty Affirms the Sanctity of Life Michael D. Bradbury Reprint of "The Death Penalty Is an Affirmation of the Sanctity of Life," Los Angeles Times, 24 September 2000.
5. The Death Penalty is Cruel and Unusual Punishment Peter L. Berger From "Beyond the 'Humanly Tolerable'," National Review, July 17, 2000.
6. The Death Penalty Is Not Cruel and Unusual Punishment Michael Scaljon Reprint of "Liberals, Death-Penalty Protesters Endanger Society," Daily Texan, July 2, 1998.
7. Executions Deliver Reasonable Retribution Pat Buchanan Reprint of "Death Penalty Is Act of Retribution, Not Revenge," Conservative Chronicle, February 18, 1998.
8. Executions Do Not Deliver Reasonable Retribution Marvin E. Wolfgang Excerpt from "We Do Not Deserve to Kill," Crime and Delinquency, January 1989.
Chapter 3: Is the Death Penalty an Effective Deterrent? 1. The Death Penalty Deters Crime Jay Johansen Reprint of "Does Capital Punishment Deter Crime?," March 29, 1998.
2. The Death Penalty Does Not Deter Crime Christine Notis and Edward Hunter Part I: Reprint (minus endnotes) of "Is the Death Penalty an Effective Deterrent?," 1997. Part II: "Experts Agree: Death Penalty Not a Deterrent to Violent Crime", January 15, 1997.
3. The Death Penalty Increases the Violent Crime Rate Paul H. Rosenberg Reprint of "Bush, Gore Both Wrong on Death Penalty Deterrence." 18 October 1999.
4. Executions Deter Felony Murders William Tucker Reprint of "The Chair Deters," National Review, July 17, 2000.
5. A High Conviction Rate Is a Stronger Deterrent Than the Death Penalty Steven E. Landsburg Reprint of "Does Crime Pay? Yes, for Those Who Don't Wince at the Small Chance of a Big Punishment," Slate, December 8, 1999.
Chapter 4: Is the Death Penalty Applied Fairly? 1. Wrongful Executions are Unlikely Eugene H. Methvin Reprint of "Death Penalty Is Fairer Than Ever," Wall Street Journal, May 10, 2000.
2. Wrongful Executions are Likely Clarence Page and Richard Cohen Part I: From "'System Works'? Whose System?," Liberal Opinion Week, February 22, 1999. Part II: "The Vain Search for Deadly Accuracy," The Washington Post, April 20, 2000.
3. DNA Evidence Reveals the Fallibility of Death Penalty Trials Washington Post National Weekly Edition Reprint of "Another DNA Exoneration," editorial, The Washington Post, January 25, 2001.
4. DNA Evidence Will Increase Public Confidence in Death Penalty Trails Gregg Easterbrook Excerpt from "The Myth of Fingerprints: DNA and the End of Innocence," The New Republic, July 31, 2000.
5. The Death Penalty Is Discriminatory Mark Costanzo and Friends Committee on National Legislation Part I: Reprint of "How Murderers Can Avoid the Executioner," The San Diego Union-Tribune, January 14, 1998. Part II: "The Death Penalty: Is It Arbitrary, Capricious, and Racially Skewed?," editorial in FCNL Washington Newsletter, June 20, 2000.
6. The Death Penalty Is Not Discriminatory Dudley Sharp Reprint of "The Death Penalty in Black and White," June 24, 1999.
7. The Retarded Should Not Receive the Death Penalty Rodney Ellis and Joseph Fiorenza Reprint of "Criminal to Be Executing Mentally Retarded Inmates," Houston Chronicle, May 3, 1999.
8. The Retarded Should Not Be Exempt From the Death Penalty Cathleen C. Herasimchuk Reprint of "Keep Inmates' IQs Out of Death Penalty Decisions," Houston Chronicle, May 21, 1999.
For Further Discussion
Organizations to Contact
Bibliography of Books

External links[edit]