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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

Into the Courthouse

Into the Courthouse

The 1970s Abolition Strategy

Chapter 7 Into the Courthouse
Imprisoned by the Past

Jeffrey L. Kirchmeier

Oxford University Press

Capital defense attorneys continued their litigation-oriented death penalty abolition strategy into the early 1970s, eventually winning a major victory in the U.S. Supreme Court in Furman v. Georgia. This chapter recounts how the Supreme Court came to address the Eighth Amendment challenge to capital punishment as constituting cruel and unusual punishment. In Furman, a divided Court held that the death penalty statutes at the time were unconstitutional, but the Court did not resolve the constitutionality of the death penalty in all cases. During this time period in the early 1970s, American attitudes about crime and the death penalty were changing.

Keywords:   Furman v. Georgia, Eighth Amendment, abolition strategy, Supreme Court, capital punishment, death penalty, Supreme Court, constitutional law

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