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Stay of Execution: Saving the Death Penalty from Itself (Hoover Studies in Politics, Economics, and Society) Hardcover – October 16, 2010


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Product Details

  • Series: Hoover Studies in Politics, Economics, and Society
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (October 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442203781
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442203785
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #686,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In his debut, Lane puts himself squarely in the camp of the "pro-death penalty American majority," yet believes that its application reveals "troubling flaws." Addressing the lack of a standards in sentencing that allows counties to act autonomously, Lane says that "There is no ÿAmerican criminal justice system,' but rather 3,141 criminal justice systems." He studies the use and abuse of capital punishment, and uncovers statistical evidence of racism (until 1967, Southern courts defined the rape of a white woman by a black man as a capital crime.) Lane dismisses claims that the penalty is a deterrent, comparing the homicide rate in Canada, where the death penalty was abolished in 1967, with that of the U.S. Lane feels that the death penalty should be used sparingly, not as retribution but as a "special penalty" for "special crimes" in order to affirm the sanctity of human life, and breaking with the European Union's definition of capital punishment as a human-rights issue ("everyone has an absolute right not to be put to death by the state"). A member of the Washington Post's editorial board, Lane has produced a careful, considered examination of a divisive issue. (Oct.)
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From Booklist

Lane, a Washington Post staff writer, approaches the perennially controversial subject of capital punishment from two angles. He assesses the cases for and against the death penalty, concluding that each has legitimate points and that each also contains some serious flaws (for example, one of the anchors of the case against is the idea that it’s racially unequal, but, the author shows, the racial disparity is frequently overstated by death-penalty opponents). The real issue here, Lane says, is the apparent contradiction surrounding the capital-punishment debate: polls indicate a majority of people support the death penalty, while they also believe that it is not a deterrent (which itself points up a flaw in the pro–death penalty argument). Not so much a discussion of whether capital punishment is right or wrong, or morally justified or repellent, the book is rather a thoughtful overview of the subject. Lane’s conclusion about capital punishment—the law works, but it’s application is clunky—is sure to provoke spirited debate. --David Pitt

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rogue States on May 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Regardless of your stance on the death penalty issue - reasoned, opposing viewpoints, rationally and well argued, are valuable tools to consider for both sides. There is a flurry of books and media arguing against capital punishment - most more emotion than science. This is the rational argument for the other-side - with facts, figures, support material, reason and logic.

It's a good book, in the common vernacular. Written by a journalist from the Washington Post. He often takes an argument against the issue, breaks down the "facts" behind said argument, and then reasonably presents the opposing viewpoint in easy to understand and comprehensible terms. The issues of Racism, deterrents, and costs are all addressed, with results often different - sometimes the same - from what has been presented in the media.

It may not change your mind, but however you feel about this issue, you need this book. If not to support your opinions, then to challenge them. And opinions are of little value if they cannot withstand scrutiny.
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful By T. Tucker on February 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Lane is that worst species of death penalty supporter: one who won't admit that the execution of innocent people is deeply problematic. Frankly, I have more respect for death penalty supporters who deny (incorrectly) that any innocent person has ever been put to death. Lane admits that innocent people have been put to death and says essentially "meh".

Perhaps it would be possible for someone with such a disturbing attitude to write a good book about the death penalty, but this is not that book. It's a snooze, unconvincing, and I can't imagine who the audience for this stuff is.
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