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Criminal Law Conversations$
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Paul H. Robinson, Stephen Garvey, and Kimberly Kessler Ferzan

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199861279

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199861279.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 05 June 2020

The Heart has its Reasons

The Heart has its Reasons

Examining the Strange Persistence of the American Death Penalty

(p.635) 29. The Heart has its Reasons
Criminal Law Conversations

Susan A. Bandes

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents an authoritative overview of the death penalty in the United States. It begins with a discussion of the three traditional rationales for capital punishment, namely, retribution, deterrence, and incapacitation. It then considers three themes surrounding the debate on death penalty: the role of emotion, the existence of emotion in a complex feedback loop with institutions such as the criminal justice system, and the intensity (or salience) of public opinion on the issue. It argues that we need a more explicit account of the emotional sources of support for and opposition to the death penalty. The chapter includes comments by some of the nation's top legal scholars from the field of criminal law, tackling topics such as the role of reason and emotion in capital sentencing, outrage versus anger and hatred, and whether empathy will kill the death penalty (or vice versa).

Keywords:   death penalty, United States, capital punishment, retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, emotion, sentencing, empathy, criminal justice system

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