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1996

Barefoot v. Estelle

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Full-Text Articles in Law

"As The Gentle Rain From Heaven": Mercy In Capital Sentencing, Stephen P. Garvey Jul 1996

"As The Gentle Rain From Heaven": Mercy In Capital Sentencing, Stephen P. Garvey

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Our constitutional law of capital sentencing does not understand Shakespeare's "gentle rain from heaven." Mercy confuses and befuddles it. The jury that sentenced Albert Brown to death was instructed that "'mere ... sympathy"' should not play on its judgment. Brown claimed this instruction violated his Eighth Amendment rights, but the Supreme Court disagreed. Some five years later, Justice Scalia dissented when the Court reversed Derrick Morgan's death sentence. According to Justice Scalia, the Court had held that no "merciless" juror could sit in judgment of a capital defendant. The Constitution, he thought, demanded no such thing. These dissents, one ...


An Introduction To Federal Habeas Corpus Practice And Procedure, John H. Blume, David P. Voisin Jan 1996

An Introduction To Federal Habeas Corpus Practice And Procedure, John H. Blume, David P. Voisin

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

For many prisoners, federal habeas corpus stands as the last opportunity to challenge the constitutionality of their convictions or sentences. Simply navigating through the procedural maze of habeas practice, however, is a formidable task for inmates proceeding pro se and prisoners represented by counsel. Tragically, those who have had a fundamentally unfair trial, and even those who are innocent, may easily stumble. Since 1867, habeas corpus, or the Great Writ, has been available to state prisoners "in all cases where any person may be restrained of his or her liberty in violation of the constitution, or of any treaty or ...