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Constitutional Law

Selected Works

2013

Death penalty

Articles 1 - 7 of 7

Full-Text Articles in Entire DC Network

The Supreme Court And The Politics Of Death, Stephen F. Smith Nov 2013

The Supreme Court And The Politics Of Death, Stephen F. Smith

Stephen F. Smith

This article explores the evolving role of the U.S. Supreme Court in the politics of death. By constitutionalizing the death penalty in the 1970s, the Supreme Court unintentionally set into motion political forces that have seriously undermined the Court's vision of a death penalty that is fairly administered and imposed only on the worst offenders. With the death penalty established as a highly salient political issue, politicians - legislators, prosecutors, and governors - have strong institutional incentives to make death sentences easier to achieve and carry out. The result of this vicious cycle is not only more executions, but less ...


Correcting A Fatal Lottery: A Proposal To Apply The Civil Discrimination Standards To The Death Penalty, Joseph Thomas Nov 2013

Correcting A Fatal Lottery: A Proposal To Apply The Civil Discrimination Standards To The Death Penalty, Joseph Thomas

Joseph Thomas

Claims of discrimination are treated differently in the death penalty context. Discrimination in employment, housing, civil rights and jury venire all use a burden-shifting framework with the preponderance of the evidence as the standard. Discrimination that occurs in death penalty proceedings is the exception to the rule -- the framework offers less protections; there is only one phase of argumentation, with a heightened evidentiary standard of “exceptionally clear proof.” With disparate levels of protections against discrimination, the standard and framework for adjudicating claims of discrimination in the death penalty is unconstitutional.

Death is different as a punishment. But does discrimination change ...


Correcting A Fatal Lottery: A Proposal To Apply The Civil Discrimination Standards To The Death Penalty, Joseph Thomas Nov 2013

Correcting A Fatal Lottery: A Proposal To Apply The Civil Discrimination Standards To The Death Penalty, Joseph Thomas

Joseph Thomas

Claims of discrimination are treated differently in the death penalty context. Discrimination in employment, housing, civil rights and jury venire all use a burden-shifting framework with the preponderance of the evidence as the standard. Discrimination that occurs in death penalty proceedings is the exception to the rule -- the framework offers less protections; there is only one phase of argumentation, with a heightened evidentiary standard of “exceptionally clear proof.” With disparate levels of protections against discrimination, the standard and framework for adjudicating claims of discrimination in the death penalty is unconstitutional.

Death is different as a punishment. But does discrimination change ...


Roper V. Simmons And Our Constitution In International Equipoise, Roger P. Alford Oct 2013

Roper V. Simmons And Our Constitution In International Equipoise, Roger P. Alford

Roger P. Alford

In Roper v. Simmons, the Court unequivocally affirms the use of comparative constitutionalism to interpret the Eighth Amendment. It does not, however, provide an obvious theoretical basis to justify the practice. This Article searches for a theory to explain the comparativism in Roper using the theories advanced in the author's previous scholarship. It concludes that of the colorable candidates, natural law constitutionalism is the most plausible explanation, with the attendant problems associated therewith. The Article concludes with an analysis of the possible ramifications of the Court's comparative approach, suggesting that it may be pursuing a Constitution that is ...


In Search Of A Theory For Constitutional Comparativism, Roger P. Alford Oct 2013

In Search Of A Theory For Constitutional Comparativism, Roger P. Alford

Roger P. Alford

Constitutional comparativism - the notion that international and foreign material should be used to interpret the U.S. Constitution - is gaining currency. Yet proponents of this practice rarely offer a firm theoretical justification for the practice. This Article contends that constitutional comparativism should be examined from the perspective of constitutional theory. The use of comparative and international material must be deemed appropriate or inappropriate based on a particular judge's interpretive mode of constitutional analysis. The Article presents four classic constitutional theories - originalism, natural law, majoritarianism, and pragmatism - and addresses the propriety of constitutional comparativism under each theory. This theoretical approach ...


Criminal Wrongs And Constitutional Rights: A View From India, Shubhankar Dam Dec 2012

Criminal Wrongs And Constitutional Rights: A View From India, Shubhankar Dam

Shubhankar Dam

This essay offers an overview of how ideas of constitutionalism, rule of law and fundamental rights contributed to the development of criminal law in India. Various courts, and the Supreme Court in particular, have summoned these broad constitutional concepts to understand, interpret and develop criminal law doctrines. But they are also drawing on these concepts to increasingly address “structural” issues of the criminal justice system - the very apparatus responsible for implementing the doctrines.


Empathy For Psychopaths: Using Fmri Brain Scans To Plea For Leniency In Death Penalty Cases, Kimberly D. Phillips Dec 2012

Empathy For Psychopaths: Using Fmri Brain Scans To Plea For Leniency In Death Penalty Cases, Kimberly D. Phillips

Kimberly D Phillips

Most of the public agrees that society is safer without psychopaths.
However, a new sentencing strategy for psychopaths facing the death
penalty has erupted from both mental health researchers and defense
lawyers-imploring juries to view a defendant's psychopathy as a
consideration of sentencing mitigation, and, consequently, urging juries to
impose life imprisonment instead of the death penalty.

This article explains the frightening nature of psychopaths, how
neuroscience and neuroimaging intersects with the study of psychopathy,
and, specifically, whether an fiMRI brain scan is appropriate mitigating
evidence in death penalty sentencing hearings when the convicted
defendant is a diagnosed psychopath.