This updated encyclopedia provides ready information on all aspects of capital punishment in America. It details virtually every capital punishment decision rendered by the United States Supreme Court through 2006, including more than 40 cases decided since publication of the first edition. Entries are also provided for each Supreme Court Justice who has ever rendered a capital punishment opinion. Entries on jurisdictions cite present-day death penalty laws and judicial structure state by state, with synopses of common and unique features.
Also included are entries on significant U.S. capital prosecutions; legal principles and procedures in capital cases; organizations that support and oppose capital punishment; capital punishment's impact on persons of African, Asian, Hispanic, and Native American descent, on women, and on foreign nationals; and the methods of execution. Essential facts are also provided on capital punishment in more than 200 other nations. A wealth of statistical data is found throughout.
Louis J. Palmer — Louis J. Palmer, Jr., is an attorney for the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. He is also the author of Encyclopedia of DNA and the United States Criminal Justice System (2004), Encyclopedia of Abortion in the United States (2002), Organ Transplants from Executed Prisoners (1999) and The Death Penalty (1998). He live in Charleston, West Virginia.
Palmer, Louis J., Jr. Encyclopedia of capital punishment in the United States. 2nd ed. McFarland, 2008. 623p index afp; ISBN 9780786432639. Reviewed in 2009jan CHOICE.
This second edition (1st, CH, Jul'01, 38-5943) provides copious information, but suffers from a lack of focus and numerous typos. Palmer, an attorney for the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals and the author of several books on the criminal justice system (including Encyclopedia of DNA and the United States Criminal Justice System, 2004), provides entries on every capital punishment decision issued by the Supreme Court through 2006, along with an additional 40 cases decided since the publication of the first edition. This work includes capital punishment laws for each state, material on modes of execution, and information on the impact of the death penalty on various ethnic groups. Pie charts and tables are clearly presented, but lack source documentation. Also, despite the book's length and stated US focus, Palmer includes 200 entries on capital punishment laws in other countries. The author is also enamored of "true crime" figures like serial killer John Wayne Gacy et al.--included because they were executed. The entry heading for serial killer Danny Rolling is misspelled ("Gainsville [sic] Ripper Murders"); this sort of sloppy editing abounds. Despite the flaws, this is a useful book for academic libraries.
Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers. -- D. K. Frasier, Indiana University--Bloomington