Jurors' Stories of Death: How America's Death Penalty Invests in Inequality

Jurors' Stories of Death: How America's Death Penalty Invests in Inequality

by Benjamin Dov Fleury-Steiner


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Jurors' Stories of Death is more than just another book about the death penalty; it is the first systematic survey of a rarely seen process-how jurors make the life or death decision.

Benjamin Fleury-Steiner draws on real-life accounts of white and black jurors in capital punishment trials to discuss the effect of race on the sentencing process. He finds that race is invariably a factor in sentencing, with jurors relying on narratives that deny the often marginalized defendants their individuality and complexity, while reinforcing the jurors' own identities as superior, moral, and law-abiding citizens. It is a system that punishes in the name of dominance. This biased story of "us versus them" continues to infuse political rhetoric on crime and punishment in the U.S. even today.

Jurors' Stories of Death concludes with an original argument for the abolition of the death penalty: If America values multiculturalism and cultural diversity, it must do away with institutions such as state-sanctioned capital punishment in order to begin to free itself from the racism, classicism, sexism, an homophobia that so insidiously plague social relations today.

About the Author:
Benjamin Fleury-Steiner is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Delaware.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780472098606
Publisher: University of Michigan Press
Publication date: 06/28/2004
Series: Law, Meaning, and Violence Series
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Chapter 1Introduction1
Chapter 2Race Politics, Punishment, and the Bureaucracy of Death11
Chapter 3Story Worlds of Death29
Chapter 4Insiders45
Chapter 5Voices of Resistance66
Chapter 6Representing Death85
Chapter 7Handling Resisters103
Chapter 8Conclusion: Pawns of the State129
Appendix AA Politics of the Insiders137
Appendix BA Closer Look at African American Capital Jurors142
Appendix CThe Jurors162
Author Index193
Subject Index197

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