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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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New Abolitionist Voices in the 1990s

New Abolitionist Voices in the 1990s

(p.225) Chapter 18 New Abolitionist Voices in the 1990s
Imprisoned by the Past

Jeffrey L. Kirchmeier

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines how many new voices spoke out against capital punishment starting in the 1990s. After Warren McCleskey’s case revealed that the death penalty would not be abolished through a litigation strategy, abolitionists intensified their focus outside the courtroom. Eventually, McCleskey’s execution and other factors prompted some to reconsider the death penalty and others to raise arguments in a number of venues. Important death penalty critics who emerged in the 1990s included Sister Helen Prejean, Justice Blackmun, and Justice Powell. Their voices were joined by conservatives, judges, politicians, and others. In particular, Sister Prejean’s book, Dead Man Walking, had a major impact on discussion about capital punishment.

Keywords:   Justice Blackmun, Sister Helen Prejean, death penalty, capital punishment, abolition, abolitionists, 1990s, Justice Powell, judges, Dead Man Walking

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