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Clancy and O'Brien, former Emmy and Silver Gavel Award-winning journalists with ABC News, present a multifaceted look at murder cases at the highest levels of law. Although the book is a serious study of evolving death penalty jurisprudence, unsparing journalistic prose grounds accompanying events in the stark, gruesome facts underlying these precedent-setting cases. The result is an odd but effective mix of stomach-turning true crime stories and sophisticated analyses of Supreme Court decisions. In crafting their inquiries, the duo rely on photographs of victims, perpetrators, and crime scenes, as well as print sources, correspondence between Justices, and portions of opinions. A broad range of pivotal issues provide the meat for dissection and discussion, including the disparate impact of race in sentencing, the death penalty's applicability to juveniles, the rights of the survivors of victims to be heard at sentencing, the constitutionality of methods of execution, and the question of when and for what reasons death penalty sentences can be appealed. In the end, Clancy and O'Brien take a principled stand against the death penalty, but not before giving a fair hearing to the arguments made in its support. Photos. Agent: Ronald Goldfarb, Goldfarb & Associates. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.