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Imprisoned by the PastWarren McCleskey and the American Death Penalty$
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Jeffrey L. Kirchmeier

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199967933

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199967933.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 October 2021

Starting Over

Starting Over

Executions Resume in the 1970s and 1980s

Chapter 9 Starting Over
Imprisoned by the Past

Jeffrey L. Kirchmeier

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the American death penalty in the immediate aftermath of the Supreme Court’s 1976 Eighth Amendment capital punishment decisions through the 1970s and 1980s. After states passed new capital punishment statutes that were upheld by the Supreme Court in 1976, the popularity of the death penalty continued to increase. Meanwhile, as Warren McCleskey began his time on death row, executions in the United States slowly resumed, starting with Utah’s firing squad execution of Gary Gilmore in 1977. His execution and several others of this period involved “volunteers” who gave up their appellate rights and allowed their executions to proceed. During this time, politics played a major role in dictating death penalty policy.

Keywords:   1980s, 1970s, executions, Gary Gilmore, politics, capital punishment, firing squad, death penalty, Utah

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