The United States is divided about the death penalty-17 states have banned it, while the remaining states have not. From wrongful convictions to botched executions, capital punishment is fraught with controversy. In The Death Penalty: What's Keeping It Alive, award-winning criminal defense attorney Andrea Lyon turns a critical eye towards the reasons why the death penalty remains active in most states, in spite of well-documented flaws in the justice system.
The book opens with an overview of the history of the death penalty in America, then digs into the reasons capital punishment is a fixture in the justice system of most states. The author argues that religious and moral convictions play a role, as does media coverage of crime and punishment. Politics, however, plays the biggest role, according to the author, with no one wanting to look soft on crime. The death penalty remains a deadly political tool in most of the United States.
Andrea D. Lyon is an award-winning criminal defense attorney and Dean of the Valparaiso University Law School. The first woman to be lead counsel in a death case in the United States, she has tried more than 130 homicide cases, more than thirty of which were potential capital cases. Of those nineteen were convicted and found eligible for the death penalty. None of those clients received the death penalty. Lyon is the author of a memoir Angel of Death Row: My Life as a Death Penalty Defense Lawyer, as well as other books and articles.
Dedication Acknowledgments Historical Timeline of the Death Penalty Countries with and without the Death Penalty States with and without the Death Penalty Preface 1: The Death Penalty Yesterday and Today 2: Moral and Religious Underpinnings of the Death Penalty 3: The Media as a Messenger of Death 4: The Death Penalty as a Political Tool 5: The Failure and Fate of Capital Punishment