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Friday, August 1, 2014

Furman v. Georgia: The Death Penalty Case

I have found a great series of books that detail landmark supreme court cases (you can see the brand on the left), and it was all because I was seeking out as much information as I could about the history of and legal precedents on the death penalty. This book in the series is Furman v. Georgia: The Death Penalty Case by D.J. Herda.

The premise of the case that ultimately reached the Supreme Court is that William Henry Furman, a black man, who was convicted of murder was given a cruel and unusual punishment in being given the death penalty. The opinion of the Court was that the death penalty needed consistency across assignment of punishment which up until that time was not happening. This book discusses the events leading to the ruling, the ruling itself, and the aftermath.

What I find most important about this book set-up is that it is for the layman reader. I can certainly read my fair share of heavy books, particularly on this specific subject, but I found it refreshing to read a piece that was aimed to reach a literate audience without being either pedantic or over the heads of the masses. This book was short, sweet, and to the point, laying out the history of the case and the path to the Court, followed by the arguments in the case, the Supreme Court ruling, and the aftermath of the decision. Everything was boiled down to what the average reader needs to know, which is helpful when you are teaching something as complicated as judicial rulings to students at younger ages and with less experience reading heavy tomes.

I am really looking forward to picking up the rest of the books in the series; they have the Dred Scott case, the New York Times censorship case, and the right to bear arms case. (This is just in the Gold Editions; there are many others in their regular editions.)

Hard copy for purchase below.

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