possibility of being put to death deter crime? Do the methods of execution
matter? This book examines the history of capital punishment in the United
States; describing the significant issues, events, and cases; and addressing
the controversies and legal issues surrounding capital punishment, making this
important topic accessible to a wide range of readers.
presents both sides of the argument on whether capital punishment should
continue or be abolished. What crimes
deserve this sentence; whether juveniles or individuals with diminished mental
capacity should ever be sentenced to death; potentially viable alternatives to
the death penalty; and the hidden costs involved in our capital punishment
system that make it so expensive.
they write it?
They were initially
invited to participate in ABC-CLIO’s “America’s Freedom” series several years
ago. The series discussed a variety of topics including equal protection of the
laws, freedom of association, freedom of speech, property rights, the right to
bear arms, the right to counsel and protection against self-incrimination, the
right to privacy, and cruel and unusual punishment. “I had an interest in the
topic of cruel and unusual punishment and I discussed the project with my
friend, U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Pesto and we decided to collaborate,”
recalls Dr. Melusky. “We were not sure that we would be able to do so because
our own views on capital punishment were rather different. Nevertheless, we
decided to give it a try.” The collaboration was successful and produced four
books to date: Cruel and Unusual
Punishment: Rights and
Liberties under the Law (ABC-CLIO, 2003), Capital Punishment (Greenwood, 2011),
The Death Penalty: Documents Decoded (ABC-CLIO, 2014), and the newest book, The
Death Penalty: A Reference Handbook (ABC-CLIO, 2017). The books are
available online through amazon.com, and barnesandnoble.com.
About the Authors
Melusky serves as Professor of Political
Science, Director of the Center for the Study of Government and Law,
Coordinator of Public Administration/Government Service, and Director of the
Pre-Law program at Saint Francis University. He has been a full-time member of
the teaching faculty at Saint Francis since 1980. He has received a number
of teaching awards including the Swatsworth Award, the Honor Society
Outstanding Faculty Award, the Alumni Association's Distinguished Faculty
Award, and the Dr. John F. Coleman Award for Outstanding Teaching and Research.
He has served as Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs, Chair of the
Department of History and Political Science, Chair of the Education Department,
and Dean of General Education. He is a former president and vice-president of
the Pennsylvania Political Science Association (PPSA), former Executive
Director, President, and Vice-President of the Northeastern Political Science
Association (NPSA), and former member of the Executive Council of the
Pennsylvania Humanities Council (PHC). He is Director of Employment Services of
the NPSA. He has served as a Judge of Elections in Blair County, Pennsylvania,
U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Pesto is an adjunct professor of political science
at Saint Francis University. Born in Baltimore,
Maryland on September 20, 1960. He graduated from Johns Hopkins University in
May, 1980 with a B.A. in economics and from the University of Pennsylvania Law
School in May, 1983.
After private practice in Philadelphia in 1984, he
clerked for Judge D. Brooks Smith, then of the Court of Common Pleas of Blair
County, in 1985 and 1986. He practiced privately again in 1986 and was a member
of the District Attorney's Office in Blair County from 1986 through 1988. He
again clerked for Judge D. Brooks Smith of the United States District Court for
the Western District of Pennsylvania from 1988 to 1994. He was appointed
magistrate judge on March 1, 1994.