Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Reissue with new introduction of Michael Meltsner's Cruel and Unusual on lawyering against the death penalty
Posted by Alan Childress
After the renewed attention lately on the death penalty from the execution of Troy Davis, including this moving faith-based Huffington Post column on that matter by Stephen Dear, I wanted to mention, as has the StandDown Texas blog, the reissue of Cruel and Unusual: The Supreme Court and Capital Punishment. It's Michael Meltsner's inside account of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund lawyers who set out to abolish the death penalty. Their decade-sought victory, if impermanent, was a methodical and fascinating tale of strategy, perseverence, and people--ending with the Supreme Court's 1972 ruling in Furman v. Georgia. (BTW, Justice Stevens says he regrets his later vote to reinstate capital punishment.)
The 2011 edition has a new Foreword by CUNY's Evan Mandery and a new, reflective preface by the author (a law prof at Northeastern and its former dean). As StandDown notes, I worked with Michael to bring this back to print. It's now out in a variety of formats: Amazon as a paperback or for Kindle; at Barnes & Noble for Nook and in paperback; PDF at Smashwords; also on Apple iBooks and at Sony. The ebooks should be convenient for people worldwide who have not had access to this classic book as a hardback edition.