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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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Innocence and the American Death Penalty

Innocence and the American Death Penalty

Chapter 19 Innocence and the American Death Penalty
Imprisoned by the Past

Jeffrey L. Kirchmeier

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the role that innocence plays in the death penalty debate, including the question of whether or not innocent defendants have been executed in modern times in the United States. People have argued about the risk of wrongful executions for a long time, although the prominence of the role of innocence in the death penalty debate has changed over time. Starting in the late 1980s, though, innocence began being more important in discussions about the death penalty. Advances in DNA evidence and the hard work of investigators and attorneys led to more discoveries about innocent people sentenced to death.

Keywords:   innocence, DNA, death penalty, capital punishment, wrongful executions, innocent defendants, death row

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