In his January 1999 visit to St. Louis, Missouri, the Pope again called for the
end of the U.S. death penalty saying, "the dignity of human life must never be
taken away even in the case of someone who has done great evil." (He also
personally appealed to Missouri's governor to commute the sentence of a triple
murderer from execution to life in prison. The governor agreed.)
In this excerpt from his 1995 encyclical letter "Evangelium
Vitae" ("The Gospel of Life" ), the Pope presents the Catholic Church's
reasons for opposing capital punishment.
These two chaplains discuss their thoughts and feelings on what it's like to be
with Texas death row inmates in the hours before they go into the death chamber.
Rev. Carroll Pickett has accompanied over 90 men to their execution.
His successor at Huntsville, Texas' death row is Rev. Jim Brazzil who
attended Clifford Boggess in his last hours.
Here are some of the best pro and con arguments ever made on the issue of
capital punishment including opposing views of two Supreme Court
Justices, the opposing views of two legal scholars, the position of the U.S. Catholic Bishops, and
the American Bar Association's 1997 call for a moratorium on the death
The execution of Clifford Boggess was routine for the state of Texas. In the
three years (1995-98) that FRONTLINE spent reporting on death row in Texas and
Clifford Boggess's story, 69 men and one woman were put to death - 8 in a
For decades habeas writs have been death row inmates' last hope for appealing their cases. However, a 1995 Supreme Court ruling and a 1996 law have
streamlined the habeas process and, critics say, undermined this
fundamental safeguard against wrongful conviction.
In the 1990s many states passed legislation allowing the families of victims to
watch, directly or indirectly,the execution of a loved one's murderer.
But does attending an execution ease the pain, or bring healing and closure for the
family? This article questions the thinking behind right-to-view statutes.
From ancient China to late 20th century America, this is a good historical
summary. It presents the many strange methods of execution, the range of
crimes covered by it in different cultures, and gives a rundown of what has
happened in America over three centuries, including a list of the most
important capital punishment decisions made by the U.S. Supreme Court.