The legitimacy of the death penalty has emerged as a hot topic in the national conversation. Oregon’s governor has now declared a moratorium on executions, the execution of convicted murderer Troy Davis in September sparked controversy, and in October the Supreme Court heard a case whose outcome could affect the use of the death penalty.
Experts note that support for the death penalty is falling somewhat, though six in 10 Americans still support its use for a person convicted of murder.
Misgivings about the death penalty are often rooted in concerns about the guilt or innocence of death row inmates, or whether capital punishment is applied fairly, experts say.
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber cited those issues when he announced on Tuesday, Nov. 22, that he was halting the scheduled Dec. 6 execution of a twice-convicted murderer and that he would not allow any executions to occur while he is governor.
Kitzhaber also pledged to seek a change in the state’s death penalty law.
Concerns over fairness were also at the heart of the Troy Davis case in Georgia, and were the focus of the case of Alabama death row inmate Cory Maples, whose appeal was heard by the Supreme Court on Oct. 4. A ruling in that case, in which Maples’ lawyers argued that he had been denied due process because of a paperwork snafu, is likely to highlight the fairness issue.
Moreover, the presidential nominating contest among Republicans has put a spotlight on the death penalty. Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s candidacy has been a particular focus because Texas leads the nation in executing convicted murderers and Perry has voiced no qualms about that record.
The audience at a Sept. 7, 2011, debate among Republican candidates drew notice for applauding loudly when the Texas record of using the death penalty was mentioned.
This edition of ReligionLink provides background on the death penalty and resources for reporters writing about this topic and its moral and religious ramifications.
WHY IT MATTERS
The death penalty debate epitomizes the impact of religion in the public square, encompassing issues of religious belief, interpretation of scripture and justice.
- What’s new
- Religious organizations
- Secular organizations
- National sources
- Opinion polls
- Legal background
- Religious background
- Read a Nov. 22, 2011, New York Times story about Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber’s decision to suspend executions and seek reforms to the state’s death penalty laws.
- Gallup publishes an annual survey each October on attitudes toward the death penalty. The October 2011 survey shows support for the death penalty continuing to erode, down to 61 percent, the lowest level since 1972.
- A Sept. 22, 2011, item in The Economist shows that there has been a fall in both executions and death sentences in recent years in America, and an increasing lag between sentencing and execution.
- A Sept. 8, 2011, New Yorker column by legal affairs writer Jeffrey Toobin examines the decline in death sentences, even in Texas.
- Read a Sept. 21, 2011, analysis of death penalty polls by the Public Religion Research Institute. It shows, among other things, an “intensity gap,” in that three times as many Americans say they strongly favor the death penalty as say they strongly oppose it (33 percent vs. 11 percent, respectively).
- A Sept. 22, 2011, blog post at Christianity Today examines attitudes toward the death penalty broken down by religion.
- Also in September, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told an audience at Duquesne University Law School, “If I thought that Catholic doctrine held the death penalty to be immoral, I would resign.” That statement prompted criticism that Scalia, one of six Catholics on the high court, was misinterpreting Catholic teaching against capital punishment.
- The Sept. 21, 2011, execution of Troy Davis drew international condemnation because of questions about the case, and it sparked a national debate. The Davis controversy is similar to that of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed by Texas in 2004 for setting a fire that killed his three daughters. Many argue that Willingham may have been innocent and that evidence was overlooked by the authorities. The case was highlighted in an investigative piece in the Sept. 7, 2009, New Yorker, “Trial by Fire.”
- A Sept. 22, 2011, blog post at The Dish by Andrew Sullivan explores various arguments about whether the Troy Davis case will lead to changes in the death penalty.
- The SAFE California initiative was launched in August 2011 to place a proposal on the November 2012 ballot to replace the death penalty in California with a sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole.
- The number of judges dissenting — often strongly — from death penalty rulings is increasing, according to this Aug. 13, 2009, story in The New York Times.
- CBS News keeps a timeline of significant death penalty events updated.
- In 1972, in the culmination of a series of rulings, the U.S. Supreme Court effectively barred capital punishment, which was on the books in 40 states.
- In 1976, the court ruled that several new statutes were constitutional and that the death penalty itself was constitutional under the Eighth Amendment. That effectively reinstated the use of capital punishment.
- From 2002 to 2008, the high court made three significant death penalty rulings. In 2008 it struck down a law that allowed people convicted of raping a child to be executed. In 2005 the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, abolished capital punishment for juvenile offenders. The majority ruled that the death penalty for minors is cruel and unusual punishment, and in the decision cited a “national consensus” against the practice. The decision overturned a 1989 ruling that had upheld the death penalty for offenders as young as 16 and 17 years old. In 2002, the high court banned capital punishment for the moderately mentally retarded.
- The Legal Information Institute allows you to search for Supreme Court decisions on the death penalty.
- For more detailed information on legal developments in the death penalty in America, see a timeline by the Clark County, Ind., prosecuting attorney’s office.
- A Jan. 4, 2010, story in The New York Times detailed why the American Law Institute, an organization of lawyers that was key to creating “the intellectual framework for the modern capital justice system,” voted to abandoned its support for that system. The ALI announced its change of policy in October 2009 in a statement, with further coverage in the fall 2009 edition of The ALI Reporter.
Read a roundup of the positions of various religious groups and denominations on capital punishment, posted by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. See also an entry in Wikipedia on “Religion and capital punishment.” The entry seems to offer an accurate overview, but as with any open-source site, it can change regularly and journalists should double-check any information before citing it.
American religious attitudes toward the death penalty are largely formed by the Judeo-Christian ethic, which is based on citations from the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, as well as rabbinic and Christian tradition. But religious leaders and adherents can cite Scripture and tradition to back different views.
- Read a series of exchanges at The Public Discourse, a politically conservative site, between Christopher O. Tollefsen and Edward Feser, arguing over whether capital punishment is morally wrong or justifiable in some cases.
- In separate venues in September 2011, Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, argued that capital punishment was biblically and morally justified and even “pro-life.”
- Read a Sept. 17, 2010, post at the Science + Religion Today blog on a study from political scientists Kevin Wozniak and Andrew Lewis, who used data from the General Social Survey to examine the link between religious affiliation and support for the death penalty.
Here are some of the salient references often cited in the debates:
- The so-called lex talionis, the “eye for an eye” law of ancient Judaism, is cited by those who support capital punishment.
- The commandment “Thou shalt not kill” is cited by opponents of the death penalty.
- In Genesis 9:6, God says to Noah: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in his own image.” This is seen as a justification for the death penalty.
- The episode in the Gospel of John (Chapter Eight) in which Jesus defends the woman caught in adultery is cited by some Christians as showing that Jesus set aside the death penalty as a justifiable punishment.
- Christian supporters of capital punishment also cite the words of the Apostle Paul in Chapter 13 of the New Testament Epistle to the Romans, in which he states that the Christians must be subject to secular authorities because “those that exist have been instituted by God.” He also says that authorities justly “bear the sword.”
- Pollingreport.com posts opinion polls about the death penalty.
- Read a Dec. 19, 2007, summary by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life about American public opinion on the death penalty during the last 50 years. The analysis shows large differences in opinions, with blacks and Latinos expressing greater opposition than other Americans.
- The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life has a policy page on death penalty resources. It includes a Dec. 19, 2007, overview of issues.
- Pew held a January 2002 conference on the death penalty that included reflections from a variety of faith traditions. The essays were collected into a volume, Religion and the Death Penalty: A Call for Reckoning. The volume has the writings of 21 contributors representing a range of religious traditions.
- See state-by-state reports on statistics and action on death penalty issues from the American Bar Association’s Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Project.
- Read a March 19, 2009, Stateline.org article, “Death penalty rift in states continues.” See also an Oct. 10, 2008, Stateline report, “No end in sight to death penalty wrangling.” The latter includes a number of charts and graphics.
- See a summary of the issues surrounding lethal injection in this article from the Death Penalty Information Center.
- Read the June 26, 2008, Washington Post story “High Court Rejects Death For Child Rape.”
- A Dec. 26, 2007, New York Times story, “At 60% of Total, Texas is Bucking Execution Trend,” shows how the decline in executions in most states has made Texas the modern-day capital of capital punishment. As the story notes, “For the first time in the modern history of the death penalty, more than 60 percent of all American executions took place in Texas.”
- Read a Nov. 4, 2007, New York Times story, “Capital Cases Stall as Costs Grow Daunting,” about the growing costs of defending death penalty cases and how that is affecting the rate of executions.
- Read a May 2002 article by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, “God’s Justice and Ours,” in the journal First Things. In the article, Scalia, a Catholic, argues against the church’s increasingly stringent teaching against the death penalty.
Read a roundup of the positions of various religious groups and denominations on capital punishment, posted by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
Supporting the death penalty
- The Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in America, supports capital punishment. Read a 2000 statement and a Baptist Press report on the SBC’s endorsement of the death penalty. Hayes Wicker is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Naples, Fla., and chairman of the Southern Baptist Convention committee that authored a resolution in support of the death penalty. Contact 239-596-8600, FBCN@FBCN.org.
- The National Association of Evangelicals, which represents 52 denominations, parachurch ministries and others, supports the death penalty. Galen Carey is director of government affairs for the NAE. Contact 202-789-1011, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that capital punishment can be an appropriate penalty for murder, but only after a civil trial. Contact the LDS public affairs department in Salt Lake City, 801-240-2205.
- The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod supports the death penalty. Contact Vicki Biggs at media relations, 800-248-1930 ext. 1236, email@example.com.
Opposing the death penalty
- The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in March 2005 launched the Catholic Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty.
- The National Council of Churches called for a moratorium on the death penalty. Contact the Rev. Michael Kinnamon, general secretary, at 212-870-2227.
- The United Methodist Church, the largest mainline Protestant denomination, opposes the death penalty. Read its 2000 statement. Contact Diane Denton, director of public relations, 615-742-5406, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America opposes the death penalty. Read its 1991 statement. Contact ELCA spokesman John R. Brooks, 800-638-3522 ext. 2958, email@example.com.
- The American Baptist Churches in the USA oppose the death penalty. Contact Leo S. Thorne, 800-222-3872 ext. 2318, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) called for a moratorium on the death penalty in 2000. Contact the Rev. Jerry L. Van Marter, 888-728-7228 ext. 5493 or 502-472-5106 (cell).
- The Orthodox Church in America supports abolition of the death penalty. Contact David Wagschal, 516-922-0550, email@example.com.
- The Episcopal Church has opposed the death penalty since 1958. Contact the Rev. Jan Nunley, 212-922-5383, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Religious Organizing Against the Death Penalty is a project of the American Friends Service Committee. Contact 215-241-7130.
Jewish tradition generally holds that the death penalty is allowed in principle, but in practice its use is almost never condoned. A famous observation of the 12th-century Jewish sage Maimonides is often invoked in this regard: “It is better and more satisfactory to acquit a thousand guilty persons than to put a single innocent one to death.” The main branches of Judaism do differ to some degree in their emphases.
- Reform Judaism opposes the death penalty. The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism posts a page with a link to its position statement and other resources. Contact 202-387-2800, email@example.com.
- The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations called for a moratorium on the death penalty in 2000 so the fairness of the way it is applied could be reviewed, though it noted that traditional Judaism generally condones the death penalty. Contact Nathan J. Diament, director of the Institute for Public Affairs, 202-513-6494.
- Conservative Judaism has taken a position that the death penalty should be abolished, for all practical purposes. The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism is the synagogue organization for the movement. Contact Richard Lederman, director of the USCJ Committee on Public Policy and Social Action, 301-230-0801, firstname.lastname@example.org. The Rabbinical Assembly is the international association of Conservative rabbis. For information on the RA’s social action committee and policies, contact Rabbi Jan Caryl Kaufman, 212-280-6056, email@example.com. The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City is the flagship educational institution of Conservative Judaism. Contact Sherry S. Kirschenbaum in media relations, 212-678-8953, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Quran, and Islamic teaching generally, are seen as allowing the death penalty under certain circumstances. But as in most religious communities, there is some variance on when and whether capital punishment should be used. The variance in views is not, however, considered as diverse as it is in Christianity, for example.
- Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad is president and director of the Minaret of Freedom Institute in Bethesda, Md. The institute conducts independent scholarly research into issues involving Islam in the U.S. and policy issues affecting Muslim countries. Read a 2001 essay in which Ahmad reflects on Islam and the death penalty, particularly in the American context. Contact 301-907-0947, email@example.com.
- Rabia Terri Harris is coordinator of the Muslim Peace Fellowship, which organizes Muslims to lobby on social justice issues, including opposition to the death penalty. Read an essay that Harris wrote, “Islam and the Death Penalty,” posted by Amnesty International. Contact 845-358-4601 ext. 43, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- ReligionLink also has an extensive guide to U.S. experts in Islam and Islamic organizations, including experts in Islamic law, the Quran and history.
- Read an essay about Islam and the death penalty written by Aslam Abdullah and posted by Beliefnet.com.
Supporting the death penalty
- Justice For All is a victims’ rights organization based in Houston. The organization maintains Pro-Death Penalty, a resource site that lists information about victims, and MurderVictims.com. Dianne Clements is president. Contact 713-935-9300 or 713-508-6979 (pager) or 281-435-7348 (cell), email@example.com.
- The Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, based in Sacramento, Calif., is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is “to assure that people who are guilty of committing crimes receive swift and certain punishment in an orderly and constitutional manner.” It supports the death penalty for juveniles over age 16. Michael Rushford is president, and Kent Scheidegger is legal director/general counsel. Contact 916-446-0345 or email through the website.
Opposing the death penalty
- Diann Rust-Tierney is executive director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. Contact 202-331-4090, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Richard Dieter is executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, which opposes capital punishment and tracks recent developments in juvenile death penalty rulings, as well as legislation on the death penalty. Contact 202-289-2275.
- James E. Coleman Jr. is a law professor at Duke University in Durham, N.C. He chaired the American Bar Association’s Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Project from 2001-06. Contact 919-613-7057, email@example.com. Deborah T. Fleischaker directs the project. Contact 202-662-1595, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Curt Goering is acting executive director of Amnesty International USA, and Sue Gunawardena-Vaughn is director of Amnesty’s Program to Abolish the Death Penalty. AIUSA opposes the death penalty and says juvenile executions are the next frontier for abolition. Contact 917-815-6439, email@example.com. Amnesty has a list of regional offices.
- Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation is a leading organization of relatives of murder victims who oppose capital punishment. Beth Wood is executive director. Contact 877-896-4702, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Campaign to End the Death Penalty is a Chicago-based group that describes itself as “the only national membership-driven, chapter-based grassroots organization dedicated to the abolition of capital punishment in the United States.” Contact Julien Ball or Alice Kim at 773-955-4841.
- Stephen B. Bright is a capital defense lawyer and president of the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta. The center focuses on issues of discrimination in the application of the death penalty. Contact 404-688-1202, email@example.com.
- Harold W. Attridge is dean of Yale University Divinity School and a professor of New Testament. He is the author of The Bible and the Death Penalty and can speak about scriptural citations and traditions invoked by both sides of the debate over capital punishment. Contact 203-432-5304, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Davison Douglas is a law professor at the College of William & Mary’s Marshall-Wythe School of Law. He wrote “God and the Executioner: The Influence of Western Religion on the Death Penalty” for the William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal in 2000. He noted the difference in attitudes between the pulpit and the pew and suggested that the fate of the death penalty in America will probably be decided in the realm of the secular, not the sacred. Contact 757-221-3853, email@example.com.
- Jeffrey Fagan is a professor of law and public health at Columbia University in New York. He says judges and juries have shown a declining willingness in recent years to sentence teenage criminals to death. Contact 212-854-2624, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Herbert H. Haines is a sociology professor at the State University of New York, College at Cortland. He studies social movements for criminal justice reform and is the author of Against Capital Punishment: The Anti-Death Penalty Movement in America, 1972-1994. Contact 607-753-4312, email@example.com.
- James J. Megivern is an emeritus professor of religion at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. He is an expert on Christian ethics and capital punishment and is author of The Death Penalty: An Historical and Theological Survey. Contact 828-883-4280, Jimmeg2@AOL.com.
- Lloyd Steffen is a professor of religion studies and university chaplain at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Executing Justice: The Moral Meaning of the Death Penalty. Contact 610-758-3353 or 610-758-3877, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Mark Lewis Taylor is a professor of theology and culture at Princeton Theological Seminary and author of The Executed God: The Way of the Cross in Lockdown America. He is also a Presbyterian minister and he opposes the death penalty. Contact 609-497-7918, email@example.com.
- Hugo Adam Bedau is a professor emeritus at Tufts University in Medford, Mass. He edited the book The Death Penalty in America: Current Controversies. Contact 617-627-3230, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Erik C. Owens is associate director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass. Owens has written widely on religious arguments about the death penalty, including a 2007 article, “The Death Penalty: Legal Aspects,” for The Encyclopedia of Theology and Religion. Contact 617-552-1861, email@example.com.
- Carol Steiker is a professor at Harvard Law School and an expert on the death penalty. Contact 617-496-5457, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Robert Blecker is a professor at New York Law School and an expert on capital punishment. He prefers abolition but allows for the death penalty in the “worst of the worst.” Read a Dec. 3, 2000, Washington Post column he wrote, posted by Deathpenaltyinfo.org. Contact 212-431-2873, email@example.com.
- Joseph Bottum, editor of the conservative-leaning interfaith journal First Things, argued against the use of capital punishment in an essay titled “Christians and the Death Penalty,” in the August/September 2005 edition. First Things is based in New York City. Contact 212-627-1985, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Stephen P. Garvey is a professor at Cornell Law School in New York. He has written numerous articles on the death penalty and represented death row inmates. Contact 607-255-8589, email@example.com.
- James S. Liebman is Simon H. Rifkind Professor of Law at Columbia Law School in New York. Liebman co-wrote the landmark study “A Broken System, Error Rates in Capital Cases 1973-1995.” The report found that 68 percent of all death verdicts imposed and fully reviewed during the 1973-95 study period were reversed by the courts due to serious error. The study was released in 2000. Contact 212-854-3423, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- David Masci is a senior research fellow at the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life in Washington, D.C., and author of a December 2007 analysis of issues regarding the death penalty in the United States. Masci previously worked for 14 years as a journalist for Congressional Quarterly. Contact 202-419-4550, email@example.com.
- John K. Cochran is a professor of criminology at the University of South Florida in Tampa. A death penalty expert, he wrote the article “Religion, Punitive Justice and Support for the Death Penalty” for Justice Quarterly. Contact 813-974-9569, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Stephen Dear is executive director of People of Faith Against the Death Penalty, a nonprofit, interfaith organization based in North Carolina whose mission is to educate and mobilize faith communities, particularly in the South, to act to abolish the death penalty in the United States. Contact 919-933-7567.
- Mark Essig is the author of Edison and the Electric Chair. He wrote a Nov. 4, 2007, op-ed in The New York Times, “This Is Going to Hurt,” arguing that the debate over lethal injection is unlikely to affect the use of the death penalty, only the way the punishment is carried out. Essig lives in Los Angeles. Contact 828-232-5919, email@example.com.
- Timothy J. Floyd is director of the Law & Public Service Program at Mercer University School of Law in Macon, Ga. He is an expert on the death penalty and served as defense counsel in the first case in the nation under the Federal Death Penalty Act of 1994. His primary research interest is legal ethics, especially how moral theology applies to the practice of law. He wrote “What’s Going On? Christian Ethics and the Modern American Death Penalty” for the Texas Tech Law Review in 2001. Contact 478-301-2631, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Joanna Shepherd Bailey is an associate professor of law at Emory University in Atlanta. She co-wrote the article “Does Capital Punishment Have a Deterrent Effect? New Evidence from Postmoratorium Panel Data” for the fall 2003 American Law and Economics Review. Contact 404-727-8957, email@example.com.
- Sister Helen Prejean is a Roman Catholic nun and author of Dead Man Walking, an account of her ministry with death row inmates in Louisiana’s Angola State Prison that was turned into an Oscar-winning film in 1996. Her most recent book is The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions. Prejean, whose office is in New Orleans, is one of the most popular and outspoken opponents of the death penalty. Contact 504-948-6557, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Bill Quigley is the Janet Mary Riley Distinguished Professor of Law at Loyola University New Orleans School of Law and director of the Law Clinic and Gillis Long Poverty Law Center. Quigley is a public interest lawyer who has represented defendants or convicts in death penalty cases. In 2003 he wrote an open letter to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia responding to Scalia’s criticism of Catholic social justice teaching against the death penalty. Contact 504-861-5590, email@example.com.
- Ted A. Smith is an assistant professor of ethics and society at Vanderbilt Divinity School in Nashville, Tenn. Smith focuses on questions of ethics and justice, such as the death penalty, in a democratic society where the majority may support ethically problematic measures. Contact 615-322-7311, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Joseph L. Hoffmann is the Harry Pratter Professor of Law at Indiana University-Bloomington. He is an expert on the death penalty. Contact 812-855-6150, email@example.com.
- John C. McAdams is a political scientist at Marquette University in Milwaukee and has written that he favors capital punishment, even if it doesn’t work as a deterrent. Contact 414-288-3425, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- E. Christian Brugger is associate professor of moral theology at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver. He wrote the book Capital Punishment and Roman Catholic Moral Tradition. Contact 303-282-3442, email@example.com.
- John D. Carlson is an associate professor of religious studies at Arizona State University and editor of the 2004 collection from a Pew Forum, Religion and the Death Penalty: A Call for Reckoning. Contact 480-727-0694, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Defense lawyer Gregory J. Kuykendall specializes in capital cases and wrote about the politics of death sentencing in Arizona. Contact 520-792-8033, Greg.Kuykendall@azbar.org.
- Rob Owen is co-director of the University of Texas at Austin’s Capital Punishment Clinic. The clinic gives students the opportunity to help represent indigent criminal defendants in capital cases. Contact 512-232-9391, email@example.com.
- Dudley Sharp of Houston is a death penalty activist who formerly opposed capital punishment but now supports it. He has been interviewed on major television and radio news and opinion programs and included in newspaper articles. Contact 713-622-5491, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Mark A. Costanzo is a professor at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, Calif. He wrote Just Revenge: Costs and Consequences of the Death Penalty. Contact 909-607-2339, email@example.com.
- Mark Essig is the author of Edison and the Electric Chair. He wrote a Nov. 4, 2007, op-ed in The New York Times, “This Is Going to Hurt,” arguing that the debate over lethal injection is unlikely to affect the use of the death penalty, only the way the punishment is carried out. Essig lives in Los Angeles. Contact through Walker Publishing Co. firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Lawrence C. Marshall is a law professor at Stanford Law School and a well-known advocate for reform of the justice system. Before joining the Stanford faculty in 2005, Marshall was legal director and co-founder of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law. Contact 650-723-7572, email@example.com.
- Glen H. Stassen is a professor of Christian ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif. He edited the 1998 collection of essays Capital Punishment: A Reader and wrote an article titled “Biblical Teaching on Capital Punishment.” Contact 626-304-3733, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Franklin E. Zimring is William G. Simon Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. He has written books on capital punishment and juvenile violence. Contact 510-642-0854, email@example.com.