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Murder at the Supreme Court

Lethal Crimes and Landmark Cases

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This in-depth yet highly accessible books provides compelling human stories that illuminate the thorny legal issues behind the most noteworthy capital cases. In 1969, the Supreme Court justices cast votes in secret that could have signaled the end of the death penalty. Later, the justices’ resolve began to unravel. Why? What were the consequences for the rule of law and for the life at stake in the case? These are some of the fascinating questions answered in Murder at the Supreme Court. Veteran journalists Martin Clancy and Tim O’Brien not only pull back the curtain of secrecy that surrounds Supreme Court deliberations but also reveal the crucial links between landmark capital-punishment cases and the lethal crimes at their root. The authors take readers to crime scenes, holding cells, jury rooms, autopsy suites, and execution chambers to provide true-life reporting on vicious criminals and the haphazard judicial system that punishes them. The cases reported are truly "the cases that made the law." They have defined the parameters that judges must follow for a death sentence to stand up on appeal. Beyond the obvious questions regarding the dubious deterrent effect of capital punishment or whether retribution is sufficient justification for the death penalty (regardless of the heinous nature of the crimes committed), the cases and crimes examined in this book raise other confounding issues: Is lethal injection really more humane than other methods of execution? Should a mentally ill killer be forcibly medicated to make him "well enough" to be executed? How does the race of the perpetrator or the victim influence sentencing? Is heinous rape a capital crime? How young is too young to be executed?

Publishers Weekly Review

Dec 03, 2012 – Clancy and O’Brien, former Emmy and Silver Gavel Award–winning journalists with ABC News, present a multifaceted look at murder cases at the highest levels of law. Although the book is a serious study of evolving death penalty jurisprudence, unsparing journalistic prose grounds accompanying events in the stark, gruesome facts underlying these precedent-setting cases. The result is an odd but effective mix of stomach-turning true crime stories and sophisticated analyses of Supreme Court decisions. In crafting their inquiries, the duo rely on photographs of victims, perpetrators, and crime scenes, as well as print sources, correspondence between Justices, and portions of opinions. A broad range of pivotal issues provide the meat for dissection and discussion, including the disparate impact of race in sentencing, the death penalty’s applicability to juveniles, the rights of the survivors of victims to be heard at sentencing, the constitutionality of methods of execution, and the question of when and for what reasons death penalty sentences can be appealed. In the end, Clancy and O’Brien take a principled stand against the death penalty, but not before giving a fair hearing to the arguments made in its support. Photos.
Murder at the Supreme Court
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  • $12.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: True Crime
  • Published: Feb 19, 2013
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Seller: Random House, LLC
  • Print Length: 375 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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