Wrongful Capital Convictions and the Legitimacy of the Death Penalty
The American system of capital punishment is facing a legitimacy crisis due to a large number of death row exonerations in recent years. In the wake of these exonerations, the number of new death sentences shrank to a 30 year low and surveys have revealed a decrease in public support for capital punishment. This book describes the crisis confronting the system and explores how newspaper reports of 29 exonerations functioned to legitimize and relegitimize the death penalty in light of these delegitimating forces. By applying Habermas' theory of legitimation crisis through narrative and qualitative content analysis, this book represents a new approach to media research.
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Investigating the Issues
The Cases in the News
Legitimizing the Death Penalty
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acquitted African-American alleged accomplices Altheide appeals Arizona Republic arrested bite mark blamed canonical events capital punishment charges Chermak Chicago Tribune cited claimsmakers coded confessed coverage crime solvers Daily Oklahoman death penalty death row death row inmates death sentence defendant's defense attorneys defense sources described DNA tests evidence example executions fact Fayetteville Observer focus focused functioned to legitimize Gauger Guarisco Habermas heinous homicide impacted included indicated innocent involved issues judge jury killer killing legitimation crisis legitimize the death McMillian metastories Monroe Journal murder newspaper Omaha World Herald post-conviction presented the crimes presented the exonerations presenting the defendants primary prior prosecutor public problems Ray Krone released relegitimize retrial revealed review courts sentenced to death Shareef Cousin social state's statements stories Sun Sentinel Supreme Court Surette suspect system functionaries technique themes trial variable wave five accounts wave four accounts wave one accounts wave three accounts white defendants witness wrongful convictions