Death Penalty Cases book cover

Death Penalty Cases

Leading U.S. Supreme Court Cases on Capital Punishment

This brand new edition of Death Penalty Cases makes the most manageable comprehensive resource on the death penalty even better. It includes the most recent cases, including Kennedy v. Louisiana, prohibiting the death penalty for child rapists, and Baze v. Rees, upholding execution by lethal injection. In addition, all of the cases are now topically organized into five sections:

* The Foundational Cases
* Death-Eligibility: Which persons/crimes are fit for the death penalty?
* The Death Penalty Trial
* Post-conviction Review
* Execution Issues

The introductory essays on the history, administration, and controversies surrounding capital punishment have been thoroughly revised. The statistical appendix has been brought up-to-date, and the statutory appendix has been restructured. For clarity, accuracy, complete impartiality and comprehensiveness, there simply is no better resource on capital punishment available.

Paperback, 456 Pages

Published: November 2010

Imprint: Butterworth Heinemann

ISBN: 978-0-12-382024-2


  • "Barry Latzer and David McCord’s latest edition of Death Penalty Cases breaks new ground in providing thoughtful and balanced analysis of all important legal issues surrounding the death penalty. From the subject of why we should have (or not have) capital punishment, to the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence on cruel and unusual punishment, to victim impact evidence and claims of actual innocence, the inquiring reader will find penetrating dissections of every major topic swirling around the death penalty debate. This book moves far beyond sloganeering to expose the fault lines in the debates and gives both sides their due. For anyone who truly wants to understand the law surrounding capital punishment, Death Penalty Cases Third Edition is a 'must read." --Paul G. Cassell, Ronald N. Boyce Presidential Professor of Criminal Law, S.J. Quinney College of Law-University of Utah

    "This volume is a gem. Latzer and McCord have carefully selected and edited landmark Supreme Court decisions encompassing the justice’s far-ranging, fascinating, and inevitably controversial capital punishment jurisprudence. The result is a compact, highly useful, comprehensive, and-to their great credit-balanced and even-handed representation of the complex constitutional, ethical, and empirical issues that distinguish this compelling body of law. " --James R. Acker, Distinguished Teaching Professor, School of Criminal Justice, SUNY-Albany

    "Given the attention paid to the death penalty by judges, lawyers and the public, I always have been surprised by the difficulty of finding a first-rate casebook to teach the subject. With this book, Barry Latzer and David McCord have admirably met that challenge. Their organization, with cases edited to just the right level of comprehensiveness for teaching, sets out the perfect blueprint from which the student can build an understanding of the intricacies of the Supreme Court's death penalty jurisprudence." --Scott Sundby, Sydney and Francis Lewis Professor, Washington and Lee University School of Law

    "The chief strengths of Death Penalty Cases are that it is beautifully edited and that it is comprehensive, and the new structure of the third edition -- organized around five sections -- is brilliant." --Beau Breslin, PhD, Assistant Dean of the Faculty, Director of the First-Year Experience, and Professor of Government, Skidmore College


  • Chapter 1: The Law and the Issues
    History of Capital Punishment
    History of the Eighth Amendment
    Arguments For and Against the Death Penalty
    Stages of a Capital Case

    Section I: Foundational Cases

    Chapter 2: Cruel and Unusual as Applied: Furman v. Georgia
    Chapter 3: Not Inherently Unconstitutional: Gregg v. Georgia
    Chapter 4: Mandatory Death Penalty: Woodson v. North Carolina
    Chapter 5: Mitigating Evidence: Lockett v. Ohio, Jurek v. Texas, Note on Penry and later Texas cases
    Chapter 6: Racial Bias: McCleskey v. Kemp

    Section II: Death-Eligibile Crimes and Persons

    Chapter 7: Rape:
    Coker v. Georgia
    Chapter 8: Murder: Godfrey v. Georgia
    Chapter 9: Felony-Murder: Enmund v. Florida, Tison v. Arizona
    Chapter 10: The Mentally Retarded and Juveniles: Atkins v. Virginia, Roper v. Simmons
    Chapter 11: Child Rape: Kennedy v. Louisiana

    Section III: The Death Penalty Trial

    Chapter 12: Appropriate Decisionmakers:
    Spaziano v. Florida, Ring v. Arizona
    Chapter 13: Selecting Jurors: Witherspoon v. Illinois, Turner v. Murray, Uttecht v. Brown
    Chapter 14: Victim Impact Evidence: Payne v. Tennessee
    Chapter 15: The Sentencing Decision: McKoy v. North Carolina, Kansas v. Marsh

    Section IV: Post-Conviction Review

    Chapter 16: Ineffective Counsel:
    Strickland v. Washington, Williams v. Taylor
    Chapter 17: Claims of Innocence: Herrera v. Collins, Kansas v. Marsh

    Section V: Execution Issues

    Chapter 18: Mental Illness at Execution:
    Ford v. Wainwright, Panetti v. Quarterman
    Chapter 19: Method of Execution: Baze v. Rees

    Appendix A: Facts and Figures on Murder and the Death Penalty
    Appendix B: Selected Death Penalty Statutes


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