ISSN 1556-6757







Volume 3, Issue 1, 2012


Public Opinion’s Affect on Capital Punishment in the United States

Georgie Ann Weatherby, Peter Cangany, Andre Labossiere, Brandon Clark


This research aims to discover how public opinion has swayed case law throughout United States history by examining major historical turning points (such as wars and disasters) as well as analyses of secondary sources pertaining to the issues at hand. It can then be determined whether the opinion of the public has played a broad role in the maturity of U.S. ideals in regard to capital punishment. Furthermore, this study examines the evolving standards of decency which recent Supreme Court cases (*Atkins v. Virginia* (2002) & *Roper v. Simmons* (2005)) have set as a statute. Specific case law has been identified back to 1878, but *Furman v. Georgia's* (1972) essential predicate ruling is seen as the beginning of the progressive capital punishment movement. To be precise, this investigation will assess how and why public opinion on capital punishment in the U.S. has and continues to influence case law. Full Article