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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

Warren McCleskey and the Electric Chair

Warren McCleskey and the Electric Chair

Chapter 15 Warren McCleskey and the Electric Chair
Imprisoned by the Past

Jeffrey L. Kirchmeier

Oxford University Press

This chapter recounts the history of the electric chair and describes Warren McCleskey’s execution in Georgia’s electric chair. The electric chair is an American execution method that has a unique history that includes a debate between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse regarding the pros and cons of AC versus DC. Eventually, the electric chair replaced hanging as the most popular death penalty method. In September 1991, the process in the hours leading to McCleskey’s electrocution—including the execution secluded from public view and the final litigation delays—reflected the country’s history. Warren McCleskey’s execution impacted a number of people, including Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun.

Keywords:   execution, execution method, electric chair, American history, death penalty, capital punishment, Warren McCleskey’s execution, Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, Justice Blackmun

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