Welcome to Capital Punishment in Context

A Resource for College Courses.

We hope this website provides you with an innovative approach to exploring a complex subject through the reading of actual cases. The narratives are meant to serve as a catalyst to broader discussion and research into the issues that underlie these cases.

Capital Punishment in Context contains several cases of individuals (pictured above) who were sentenced to death in the United States. Each case presents a narrative account of the individual’s crime, trial and punishment, along with questions for further analysis, discussion and research on issues raised by the case. The narratives are supplemented by resources such as original police reports from the homicide investigation and transcripts of testimony from witnesses. After reading the case, you can further explore issues by following a series of links to new information. Each case, along with the related materials, delineates a path through the criminal justice system. At every stage of the process, questions are raised about how the system works. These questions can lead to an analysis of key topics, such as the quality of legal representation for criminal defendants, the risk of wrongful convictions, the role of capital jurors, judicial independence, and the role that race may play in the criminal justice system.

Each of the Capital Punishment in Context case narratives highlights several broader issues that can be explored further. By clicking on one of the topic headings, you will be able to investigate these issues more fully. In addition to connecting the issue with the facts in the cases, these links also provide access to materials prepared by leading researchers and scholars.