Courting Death: The Supreme Court and Capital Punishment

Steiker, Carol S. & . Belknap: Harvard Univ. Nov. 2016. 386p. notes. index. ISBN 9780674737426. $29.95. LAW
Carol (Henry J. Friendly Professor of Law, Harvard Univ. Law Sch.) and Jordan Steiker's (Judge Robert M. Parker Endowed Chair in Law, Univ. of Texas Sch. of Law) extensively researched book about the Supreme Court and the death penalty argues that the court's approach to such cases has made the law unsustainable. By examining the history of capital punishment in the United States and the cultural, racial, and socioeconomic differences in its application, the authors show that these cases are often delayed for years by the justice system. In addition, ethical questions about methods of execution and questions about wrongful convictions have led to further delays and questions about the ethics of the death penalty itself. The costs of capital cases and the way they have strained the states' indigent defense budgets are also factors in the authors' argument and one of the most interesting parts of the book.
VERDICT This thought-provoking work explores a timely topic. Law and social work students and those with a serious interest in the death penalty will want to read it. Recommended for academic and law libraries.
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