Book Review: Deadly Justice: A Statistical Study of the Death Penalty

This book, Deadly Justice, is the culmination of years of research and teaching by Frank Baumgartner — Richard J. Richardson Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill — who was assisted by his designated co-authors, Marty Davidson, Kaneesha Johnson, Arvind Krishnamurthy and Colin Wilson — all Baumgartner’s former students — as well as Betsy Neill and Justin Cole, who are designated co-authors of individual chapters. It is not only a remarkable intellectual accomplishment by all of them, but also the result will be of tremendous use to capital case litigators, academics, journalists, legislators and, one hopes, judicial clerks and the judiciary itself. In fact, to say the book is a culmination is misleading; it is a living organism. The book is augmented by a website through which the authors openly provide for replication of their charts, figures and maps. They also provide links to other sources and express the intention to keep their research up to date. I will go so far as to say that every capital case litigator and anyone else dealing with or writing about the death penalty should have this book and should have the webpage tabbed on their browser.1