Another Place Beyond Here: The Death Penalty Moratorium Movement in the United States

By Jeffrey L. Kirchmeier / University of Colorado Law Review, on 1 January 2002

Professor Kirchmeier examines the recent decline in support for the death penalty in the United States and the resulting emergence of a movement to impose a moratorium on executions. After discussing the history of the death penalty abolition movement in the United States, he identifies five major and seven minor events that have contributed to the growth of the Death Penalty Moratorium Movement. Then, he compares the current Moratorium Movement to other similar reform periods: the 1960s Death Penalty Abolitionist Movement; legislative abolition of the death penalty in several states during the mid-1800s and early 1900s; death penalty abolition in other countries; and the Anti-Lynching Movement of the early 1900s. Based on the history of these other movements, Professor Kirchmeier discovers various lessons for today’s Moratorium Movement, including lessons about strategy and the roles of public opinion and leadership. Finally, using these lessons from history and looking at recent events, he considers the future of the Moratorium Movement. Professor Kirchmeier concludes that for the Movement to continue to be successful: (1) there must be no major national distracting forces; (2) the Movement must continue to broaden its arguments and not be overly dependent upon one issue, one person, or one strategy; (3) the Movement must continue seek support from unexpected voices; and (4) the Movement must stay focused on the goals of achieving popular support and creating new leaders. Finally, Professor Kirchmeier predicts that the Moratorium Movement is strong enough to continue to have lasting effects.

  • Document type Article
  • Countries list United States
  • Themes list Moratorium ,