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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: 25 October 2021

The Unstoppable Death Penalty after McCleskey into the Early 1990s

The Unstoppable Death Penalty after McCleskey into the Early 1990s

Chapter 17 The Unstoppable Death Penalty after McCleskey into the Early 1990s
Imprisoned by the Past

Jeffrey L. Kirchmeier

Oxford University Press

This chapter recounts the history of the death penalty during a period of high popularity in the 1980s and early 1990s. Following Warren McCleskey’s execution and McCleskey v. Kemp, the death penalty seemed more firmly entrenched in America than at any time since the 1950s as public opinion polls showed wide support for capital punishment. Many supported the executions of men such as John Wayne Gacy and Ted Bundy, and politicians passed new laws to expand or speed up executions, such as the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA). While attorneys and activists struggled to adapt, the popular death penalty appeared as if it would remain an American institution indefinitely.

Keywords:   popular death penalty, 1980s, 1990s, death penalty, capital punishment, Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, AEDPA, public opinion

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