header image
Home Page
Hear Past Shows
About Us
November 18, 2017

Note: Justice Talking's grant funding expired in 2008 and the project has been closed. This website is an archive of the entire run of Justice Talking shows through June 30, 2008.
It is no longer being maintained. We apologize for any stale or broken links.
Featured Program

Deterrent or Disgrace : America`s Death Penalty
Last Featured: 1/18/2000

Listen to Full Program
(Windows Media Player Required)

Download the MP3
(Right-click and choose 'Save As...'
from the pop-up menu.)

Note: Justice Talking ceased production on June 30 of 2008. Link information on this site is not maintained and is provided for historical interest only. Although correct when posted, The Annenberg Public Policy Center makes no claim as the the accuracy or continued availability of any third party web links found on this site.
Overview

Is capital punishment an effective deterrent to crime and justified retribution for the heinous acts of others or a violation of the Constitution`s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment and equal protection? This Justice Talking debate pits Bryan A. Stevenson, Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative and one of the nation`s leading advocate opposed to capital punishment against Arthur C. (Cappy) Eads, the District Attorney for Bell County Texas and a prosecutor who favors use of the death penalty. The discussion covers some of the most vexing constitutional issues that our courts must regularly confront: Is the use of Florida`s electric chair cruel and unusual punishment? Are the fact that there is racial bias in our justice system and the fact that nearly 7% of all capital cases are reversed on appeal appropriate reasons to impose a moratorium on the death penalty? What other penalties will be appropriate punishments for heinous capital crimes?


Guests
Bryan A. Stevenson is the Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama where he challenges bias in the criminal justice system on behalf of poor people in the deep south. Prior to founding the Equal Justice Initiative, Stevenson was a staff attorney with the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia and the executive director of the Alabama Capital Representation Resource Center where he represented death row prisoners and capital defendants. Mr. Stevenson's work on behalf of condemned prisoners has won him numerous awards and honors including a MacArthur

Arthur C. Eads is the former District Attorney for Bell County Texas. Mr. Eads has been personally involved in numerous capital murder cases as co- or lead counsel including five recent cases in which the defendant was sentenced to death. A Graduate of Baylor Law School, Mr. Eads has also played an important leadership role in the legal community. He has served as President of the Texas District and County Attorneys Association, President of the National District Attorneys' Association and as Chairman-Elect of the American Bar Association's Criminal Justice Section and has won the Governor;s Distinguished Service Award and the

Closing Quote
"There are few subjects grittier than the death penalty. Its curious appeal lies, in part, in its very grimness. For proponents their eyes on the moment of terrible murder and the bereft family of the person killed, there is the Judgment Day finality of the act of execution. For opponents, most of whom reject the validity of any killing, even as punishment, there is the compelling suspense of the sentencing, and later, the wait for a judge's final stay, a governor's last-minute clemency --- followed by the ineffable, helpless sadness when neither comes and they watch the doomed man's last hours, choreographed to the beat of the clock moving to the moment of his extinction. In either instance, deep emotion is at work."

— Historian William McFeely from his book Proximity to Death

©1999-2017 University of Pennsylvania. All rights reserved. Any Justice Talking program downloaded or podcast from this site is for personal use only. Any Justice Talking program, or portion of it, may not reproduced, publicly distributed or displayed, used to create a derivative work, or otherwise copied or transmitted to a third party, in any format now known or hereafter discovered, except as expressly permitted by Law.

To request permission to use Justice Talking audio, please contact support.
Join the Debate
NOTE: Justice Talking Blogs and Forums have been closed.
Special Announcements
Justice Talking’s last broadcast & podcast was June 30, 2008.

ATTENTION TEACHERS: Additional materials supporting use of this program in the classroom are available: ClickHere
Southern Center For Human Rights
Pro-Death Penalty.com
Murder Victims
Justice For All: A Criminal Justice Reform Organization
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Death Penalty and Execution News
Derechos Human Rights
The Religious Organizing Against the Death Penalty Project
Campaign to End the Death Penalty
Amnesty International
National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
Speakout.com: Death Penalty Activism Center
The Death Penalty in 1997: Year End Report: Texas Pushes Nation's Executions to Record Numbers in 1997, But Opposition Grows (1997)
Gallup Poll: Where America Stands on Death Penalty
Capital Punishment : The Death Penalty Debate (Issues in Focus)
by Ted Gottfried
Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States
by Helen Prejean
The Death Penalty : For and Against (Point-Counterpoint - Philosophers Debate Contemporary Issues , No 94)
by Louis P. Pojman and Jeffrey Reiman
The Right to a Jury Trial
Bail Bondsmen, Bounty Hunters and Private Prisons
Innovations in Policing