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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

A Time of Change

A Time of Change

American Society and the Death Penalty in the 1950s through the 1960s

Chapter 6 A Time of Change
Imprisoned by the Past

Jeffrey L. Kirchmeier

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses changing U.S. attitudes about capital punishment and new avenues of attacking the punishment during the 1950s and 1960s. Controversial executions in this time period of death penalty history included the Rosenbergs in 1953, Leandress Riley in 1953, and Caryl Chessman in 1960. Then, in 1963, Justice Arthur Goldberg wrote a dissenting opinion in Rudolph v. Alabama that inspired the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and others to coordinate a court-based attack on capital punishment. Events during this time would set the stage for constitutional death penalty issues to go the U.S. Supreme Court.

Keywords:   death penalty history, death penalty, 1950s, 1960s, Rudolph v. Alabama, Justice Goldberg, Legal Defense Fund, Rosenbergs, Caryl Chessman, capital punishment

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