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The Last GaspThe Rise and Fall of the American Gas Chamber$
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Scott Christianson

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780520255623

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520255623.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 17 October 2021

“Cruel and Unusual Punishment”?

“Cruel and Unusual Punishment”?

Chapter:
(p.206) Chapter 11 “Cruel and Unusual Punishment”?
Source:
The Last Gasp
Author(s):

Scott Christianson

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520255623.003.0012

By the late 1970s, public opinion in the United States was swinging ever more strongly in favor of the death penalty. Although the public's appetite for gas chambers had diminished, eleven states—Arizona, California, Colorado, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico (until 1978), North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Wyoming—still clung to that method of capital punishment. But the legal battle over the constitutionality of lethal gas executions, and the rise of the new method of lethal injection, were just beginning to take hold. Henry Schwarzschild, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union Capital Punishment Project, served as one of the key national players in the anti-death penalty movement in the late 1970s. After John Spenkelink's execution, attention shifted to Jesse Walter Bishop and Jimmy Lee Gray. One by one, states had backed away from the continued use of the gas chamber, usually substituting lethal injection instead.

Keywords:   United States, death penalty, gas chamber, executions, lethal gas, capital punishment, Henry Schwarzschild, lethal injection, Jesse Walter Bishop, Jimmy Lee Gray

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