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Criminal Procedure

Capital punishment

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Full-Text Articles in Law

The State Of The Death Penalty, Ankur Desai, Brandon L. Garrett Jan 2019

The State Of The Death Penalty, Ankur Desai, Brandon L. Garrett

Faculty Scholarship

The death penalty is in decline in America and most death penalty states do not regularly impose death sentences. In 2016 and 2017, states reached modern lows in imposed death sentences, with just thirty-one defendants sentenced to death in 2016 and thirty-nine in 2017, as compared with over three hundred per year in the 1990s. In 2016, only thirteen states imposed death sentences, and in 2017, fourteen did so, although thirty-one states retain the death penalty. What explains this remarkable and quite unexpected trend? In this Article, we present new analysis of state-level legislative changes that might have been expected ...


Equal Protection Under The Carceral State, Aya Gruber Jan 2018

Equal Protection Under The Carceral State, Aya Gruber

Articles

McCleskey v. Kemp, the case that upheld the death penalty despite undeniable evidence of its racially disparate impact, is indelibly marked by Justice William Brennan’s phrase, “a fear of too much justice.” The popular interpretation of this phrase is that the Supreme Court harbored what I call a “disparity-claim fear,” dreading a future docket of racial discrimination claims and erecting an impossibly high bar for proving an equal protection violation. A related interpretation is that the majority had a “color-consciousness fear” of remedying discrimination through race-remedial policies. In contrast to these conventional views, I argue that the primary anxiety ...


If It Walks Like Systematic Exclusion And Quacks Like Systematic Exclusion: Follow-Up On Removal Of Women And African-Americans In Jury Selection In South Carolina Capital Cases, 1997-2014, Ann M. Eisenberg, Amelia Courtney Hritz, Caisa Elizabeth Royer, John H. Blume Apr 2017

If It Walks Like Systematic Exclusion And Quacks Like Systematic Exclusion: Follow-Up On Removal Of Women And African-Americans In Jury Selection In South Carolina Capital Cases, 1997-2014, Ann M. Eisenberg, Amelia Courtney Hritz, Caisa Elizabeth Royer, John H. Blume

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

This Article builds on an earlier study analyzing bases and rates of removal of women and African-American jurors in a set of South Carolina capital cases decided between 1997 and 2012. We examine and assess additional data from new perspectives in order to establish a more robust, statistically strengthened response to the original research question: whether, and if so, why, prospective women and African-American jurors were disproportionately removed in different stages of jury selection in a set of South Carolina capital cases.

The study and the article it builds on add to decades of empirical research exploring the impacts (or ...


The Pre-Furman Juvenile Death Penalty In South Carolina: Young Black Life Was Cheap, Sheri Lynn Johnson, John H. Blume, Hannah L. Freedman Apr 2017

The Pre-Furman Juvenile Death Penalty In South Carolina: Young Black Life Was Cheap, Sheri Lynn Johnson, John H. Blume, Hannah L. Freedman

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Capital punishment in this country, and in South Carolina, has its roots in racial subjugation, stereotype, and animosity. The extreme disparities we report here have dampened due to the combined effects of decreasing levels of open racial antagonism, the reforms of the modem death penalty, including categorical exemptions for juveniles and person with intellectual disabilities and prohibition of the imposition of the death penalty for the crime of rape, and the (small) increase in diversity in capital juries. But dampened does not mean eradicated. Significant disparities in the administration of capital punishment persist today. The color of a defendant's ...


When Empathy Bites Back: Cautionary Tales From Neuroscience For Capital Sentencing, Sheri Lynn Johnson, Amelia Courtney Hritz, Caisa Elizabeth Royer, John H. Blume Nov 2016

When Empathy Bites Back: Cautionary Tales From Neuroscience For Capital Sentencing, Sheri Lynn Johnson, Amelia Courtney Hritz, Caisa Elizabeth Royer, John H. Blume

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

The neuroscience of empathy provides one more reason to believe that the decision to sentence another human being to death is inevitably an arbitrary one, and one that cannot be divorced from either race or caprice. While we can tinker with aspects of capital trials that exacerbate caprice and discrimination stemming from empathy, we cannot alter basic neural responses to the pain of others and therefore cannot rationalize (in either sense of the word) empathic responses.


Death Row, Calls For Indifference, And Redemption Of The Soul, Corinna Barrett Lain Jan 2016

Death Row, Calls For Indifference, And Redemption Of The Soul, Corinna Barrett Lain

Law Faculty Publications

In this Response, I first engage with McLeod’s article, summarizing its key claims and endorsing its call for legislative action, while disagreeing at times with the analytical moves it makes along the way. I then turn to two questions that the article inspired. One stems from comments in the constitutional, academic, and public discourse calling for indifference to the way we treat the condemned in light of the way they treated their victims. Given the depravity of the crimes the condemned have committed, why should we care about the conditions under which they are housed on death row? The ...


Criminal Justice And (A) Catholic Conscience, Leo E. Strine Jr. Jan 2016

Criminal Justice And (A) Catholic Conscience, Leo E. Strine Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This article is one person's reflections on how an important influence on his own sense of moral values -- Jesus Christ -- affects his thinking about his own approach to his role as a public official in a secular society, using the vital topic of criminal justice as a focal point. This article draws several important lessons from Christ's teachings about the concept of the other that are relevant to issues of criminal justice. Using Catholicism as a framework, this article addresses, among other things, capital punishment and denying the opportunity for redemption; the problem of racial disparities in the ...


The Death Penalty And The Fifth Amendment, Joseph Blocher Jan 2016

The Death Penalty And The Fifth Amendment, Joseph Blocher

Faculty Scholarship

Can the Supreme Court find unconstitutional something that the text of the Constitution “contemplates”? If the Bill of Rights mentions a punishment, does that make it a “permissible legislative choice” immune to independent constitutional challenges?

Recent developments have given new hope to those seeking constitutional abolition of the death penalty. But some supporters of the death penalty continue to argue, as they have since Furman v. Georgia, that the death penalty must be constitutional because the Fifth Amendment explicitly contemplates it. The appeal of this argument is obvious, but its strength is largely superficial, and is also mostly irrelevant to ...


Forty Years Of Death: The Past, Present, And Future Of The Death Penalty In South Carolina (Still Arbitrary After All These Years), John H. Blume, Lindsey S. Vann Jan 2016

Forty Years Of Death: The Past, Present, And Future Of The Death Penalty In South Carolina (Still Arbitrary After All These Years), John H. Blume, Lindsey S. Vann

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Forty years ago, the Supreme Court of the United States deemed constitutional new death penalty laws intended to minimize the arbitrariness which led the Court to invalidate all capital sentencing statutes four years earlier in Furman v. Georgia. Over the last four decades the Court has — time and again — attempted to regulate the “machinery of death.” Looking back over the Court’s work, many observers, including two current Supreme Court justices, have questioned whether the modern death penalty has lived up to expectations set by the Court in the 1970s or if, despite 40 years of labor, the American death ...


A Survey Of The History Of The Death Penalty In The United States, Sheherezade C. Malik, D. Paul Holdsworth Jan 2015

A Survey Of The History Of The Death Penalty In The United States, Sheherezade C. Malik, D. Paul Holdsworth

Law Student Publications

Since the founding of Jamestown Colony in 1607, few topics in American life and culture have generated as much controversy, both in terms of persistence and volatility, as the death penalty. Foreign policy, economic recessions, and social movements come to the forefront of national discussion in their own respective ebbs and flows. Capital punishment, however, has been a staple of the American criminal justice system since the early inhabiting of the continent, and has remained a permanent vehicle through which we can enact retribution on the most heinous criminal offenders in our society, ridding ourselves of the worst among us.


Making Sure We Are Getting It Right: Repairing "The Machinery Of Death" By Narrowing Capital Eligibility, Ann E. Reid Jan 2015

Making Sure We Are Getting It Right: Repairing "The Machinery Of Death" By Narrowing Capital Eligibility, Ann E. Reid

Law Student Publications

This comment argues that, starting with the framework of the federal system, there is a way to reconcile modern concerns about the death penalty with society's need for leverage over those criminals who truly are the worst of the worst-those who present grave threats to society even after incarceration. This reconciliation can be achieved by amending the Federal Death Penalty Act to require prosecutors to establish one additional element before they can secure a capital conviction: future dangerousness of the defendant in prison..


A Shot In The Dark: Why Virginia Should Adopt The Firing Squad As Its Primary Method Of Execution, P. Thomas Distanislao, Iii Jan 2015

A Shot In The Dark: Why Virginia Should Adopt The Firing Squad As Its Primary Method Of Execution, P. Thomas Distanislao, Iii

Law Student Publications

This comment recommends that Virginia cease its use of lethal injection because of its high botch rates and growing impracticability due to drug shortages. Instead, the Commonwealth should use the firing squad as a more effective means of execution, thereby leading the nation in a transition towards a more efficient and reliable method.


Getting Jurors To Awesome, Cortney E. Lollar Jan 2014

Getting Jurors To Awesome, Cortney E. Lollar

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

A 2011 American Bar Association report on the death penalty in Kentucky revealed that a shocking two-thirds of the 78 people sentenced to death in Kentucky since reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976 have had their sentences overturned on appeal. Kentucky’s reversal rate is more than twice the national average, with a 31% reversal rate in capital cases and almost four times the 17% national reversal rate in all other case types. With a sentence as irreversible as death, troubling does not begin to describe the depth of concern many experience when viewing such a startling statistic.

A ...


Book Review: American Jericho: A Book Review Of The Hanging Judge By Michael A. Ponsor, Giovanna Shay Jan 2014

Book Review: American Jericho: A Book Review Of The Hanging Judge By Michael A. Ponsor, Giovanna Shay

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Murder, Minority Victims, And Mercy, Aya Gruber Jan 2014

Murder, Minority Victims, And Mercy, Aya Gruber

Articles

Should the jury have acquitted George Zimmerman of Trayvon Martin's murder? Should enraged husbands receive a pass for killing their cheating wives? Should the law treat a homosexual advance as adequate provocation for killing? Criminal law scholars generally answer these questions with a resounding "no." Theorists argue that criminal laws should not reflect bigoted perceptions of African Americans, women, and gays by permitting judges and jurors to treat those who kill racial and gender minorities with undue mercy. According to this view, murder defenses like provocation should be restricted to ensure that those who kill minority victims receive the ...


Lethal Injection And The Right Of Access: The Intersection Of The Eighth And First Amendments, Timothy F. Brown Jan 2014

Lethal Injection And The Right Of Access: The Intersection Of The Eighth And First Amendments, Timothy F. Brown

Faculty Publications

The Spring and Summer of 2014 have witnessed renewed debate on the constitutionality of the death penalty after a series of high profile legal battles concerning access to lethal injection protocols and subsequent questionable executions. Due to shortages in the drugs traditionally used for the lethal injection, States have changed their lethal injection protocols to shield information from both the prisoners and the public. Citing public safety concerns, the States refuse to release information concerning the procurement of the drugs to the public. Such obstruction hinders the public’s ability to determine the cruelty of the punishment imposed and creates ...


The Hanging Judge By Michael A. Ponsor -- A Book Review: Capital Punishment -- Is The Death Penalty Worth The Price?, Beth D. Cohen, Pat K. Newcombe Jan 2014

The Hanging Judge By Michael A. Ponsor -- A Book Review: Capital Punishment -- Is The Death Penalty Worth The Price?, Beth D. Cohen, Pat K. Newcombe

Faculty Scholarship

In 2000-2001, Judge Ponsor presided over the first death penalty case in Massachusetts in nearly 50 years, United States v. Gilbert. Gilbert’s trial marked only the third time that a federal capital case had gone to trial in a state without the death penalty. According to Ponsor, he felt a particularly heavy responsibility to ensure that both the government and the defense got a fair trial. In fact, in 2001, after the conclusion of the trial, Ponsor did something somewhat unusual for a judge; he wrote a lengthy editorial about the death penalty. He wrote: “[t]he simple question ...


Missing Mcveigh, Michael E. Tigar Jan 2014

Missing Mcveigh, Michael E. Tigar

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Constitutionally Tailoring Punishment, Richard A. Bierschbach, Stephanos Bibas Dec 2013

Constitutionally Tailoring Punishment, Richard A. Bierschbach, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Since the turn of the century, the Supreme Court has begun to regulate non-capital sentencing under the Sixth Amendment in the Apprendi line of cases (requiring jury findings of fact to justify sentence enhancements) as well as under the Eighth Amendment in the Miller and Graham line of cases (forbidding mandatory life imprisonment for juvenile defendants). Though both lines of authority sound in individual rights, in fact they are fundamentally about the structures of criminal justice. These two seemingly disparate lines of doctrine respond to structural imbalances in non-capital sentencing by promoting morally appropriate punishment judgments that are based on ...


Grave Injustice: Unearthing Wrongful Executions, Mary Kelly Tate Aug 2013

Grave Injustice: Unearthing Wrongful Executions, Mary Kelly Tate

Law Faculty Publications

This book review discusses Richard A. Stack's book, Grave Injustice, which illustrates the flaws in America's use of capital punishment. "Simply put, the death penalty is shown to be a massive policy failure diminishing the legitimacy of the criminal justice system in the world's leading democracy. Stack uses his reportorial skills to distill the complex subject of the American death penalty into a digestible form, yet he never cuts corners with the human dimension. This dimension is always at the center of crime and punishment and, most hauntingly, at the center of the American death penalty and ...


Death Penalty Drugs: A Prescription That's Getting Harder To Fill, Corinna Barrett Lain Jul 2013

Death Penalty Drugs: A Prescription That's Getting Harder To Fill, Corinna Barrett Lain

Law Faculty Publications

Six states have abolished the death penalty in the past six years—Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and New Mexico. We haven’t seen mass moves like that since the 1960s. What gives?

Part of the answer is that those states weren’t executing anyway. More people in those states were dying on death row waiting to be executed than were actually being executed, and the death penalty is breathtakingly expensive to maintain (a point to which I’ll return in a moment).

So why weren’t the states executing? We tend to hear about innocence claims, trench ...


Data Underlying "Living Death: Ambivalence, Delay, And Capital Punishment", Marianne Wesson, Amy Kingston, Jocelyn Jenks, Laura Mcnabb, Lauren Seger, Genet Tekeste, Edwin Hurwitz Feb 2013

Data Underlying "Living Death: Ambivalence, Delay, And Capital Punishment", Marianne Wesson, Amy Kingston, Jocelyn Jenks, Laura Mcnabb, Lauren Seger, Genet Tekeste, Edwin Hurwitz

Research Data

The documents here archived contain data compilations researched and recorded by me and my research assistants in connection with the article by Marianne "Mimi" Wesson, Living Death: Ambivalence, Delay, and Capital Punishment (Feb. 20, 2013), https://ssrn.com/abstract=2221597.

Our research investigated four study jurisdictions: Arizona, Louisiana, Nevada, and Ohio. The data falls into two categories: analyses of reported appellate cases during designated periods in those jurisdictions; and investigations of the subsequent careers of every individual who resided on death row in one of our jurisdictions in April of 1995. The article further explains the impetus for these investigations ...


The Virtues Of Thinking Small, Corinna Barrett Lain Jan 2013

The Virtues Of Thinking Small, Corinna Barrett Lain

Law Faculty Publications

Professor Lain argues that, in efforts to determine how close American states are to abolishing the death penalty, scholars should "think small," examining the ground level issues that affect its imposition. Among the issues she explores are exonerations of defendants, the legality and obtainability of lethal injection drugs, and the high costs of seeking and imposing capital punishment.


Plea Bargaining And The Right To The Effective Assistance Of Counsel: Where The Rubber Hits The Road In Capital Cases, John H. Blume Dec 2012

Plea Bargaining And The Right To The Effective Assistance Of Counsel: Where The Rubber Hits The Road In Capital Cases, John H. Blume

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


Madness Alone Punishes The Madman: The Search For Moral Dignity In The Court's Competency Doctrine As Applied In Capital Cases, J. Amy Dillard Apr 2012

Madness Alone Punishes The Madman: The Search For Moral Dignity In The Court's Competency Doctrine As Applied In Capital Cases, J. Amy Dillard

All Faculty Scholarship

The purposes of the competency doctrine are to guarantee reliability in criminal prosecutions, to ensure that only those defendants who can appreciate punishment are subject to it, and to maintain moral dignity, both actual and apparent, in criminal proceedings. No matter his crime, the “madman” should not be forced to stand trial. Historically, courts viewed questions of competency as a binary choice, finding the defendant either competent or incompetent to stand trial. However, in Edwards v. Indiana, the Supreme Court conceded that it views competency on a spectrum and offered a new category of competency — borderline-competent. The Court held that ...


Racial Discrimination In The Administration Of The Death Penalty: The Experience Of The United States Armed Forces (1984-2005), David C. Baldus, Catherine M. Grosso, George Woodworth, Richard Newell Jan 2012

Racial Discrimination In The Administration Of The Death Penalty: The Experience Of The United States Armed Forces (1984-2005), David C. Baldus, Catherine M. Grosso, George Woodworth, Richard Newell

Faculty Publications

This Article presents evidence of racial discrimination in the administration of the death penalty in the United States Armed Forces from 1984 through 2005. Our database includes military prosecutions in all potentially death-eligible cases known to us (n=105) during that time period.

Over the last thirty years, studies of state death-penalty systems have documented three types of evidence of racial disparities in the treatment of similarly situated death-eligible offenders. The most common disparity or “race effect” is that capital charging and sentencing decisions are applied more punitively in cases involving one or more white victims than they are in ...


The North Carolina Racial Justice Act: An Essay On Substantive And Procedural Fairness In Death Penalty Litigation, Neil Vidmar Jan 2012

The North Carolina Racial Justice Act: An Essay On Substantive And Procedural Fairness In Death Penalty Litigation, Neil Vidmar

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Executions In America: How Constitutional Interpretation Has Restricted Capital Punishment, Andrea Paone Jul 2011

Executions In America: How Constitutional Interpretation Has Restricted Capital Punishment, Andrea Paone

Pell Scholars and Senior Theses

In upholding the constitutionality of capital punishment, the United States Supreme Court has utilized a strict construction interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause, which has led the opponents of capital punishment to abandon the Due Process approach and look to the Eighth Amendment, for which the justices utilize a loose construction interpretation.


And Death Shall Have No Dominion: How To Achieve The Categorical Exemption Of Mentally Retarded Defendants From Execution, J. Amy Dillard Mar 2011

And Death Shall Have No Dominion: How To Achieve The Categorical Exemption Of Mentally Retarded Defendants From Execution, J. Amy Dillard

All Faculty Scholarship

This article examines the Court’s categorical exclusion of mentally retarded defendants from execution and explores how trial courts should employ procedures to accomplish heightened reliability in the mental retardation determination; it maintains that if a mentally retarded defendant is subjected to a death sentence then the Atkins directive has been ignored. To satisfy the Atkins Court’s objective of protecting mentally retarded defendants from the “special risk of wrongful execution,” the article explores whether trial courts should engage in a unified, pre-trial competency assessment in all capital cases where the defendant asserts mental retardation as a bar to execution ...


Rectifying Wrongful Convictions: May A Lawyer Reveal Her Client's Confidences To Rectify The Wrongful Conviction Of Another? (A Roundtable Discussion Of The Aba's Standards For Criminal Litigation), James E. Moliterno Jan 2011

Rectifying Wrongful Convictions: May A Lawyer Reveal Her Client's Confidences To Rectify The Wrongful Conviction Of Another? (A Roundtable Discussion Of The Aba's Standards For Criminal Litigation), James E. Moliterno

Faculty Scholarship

None available.