Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Law Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

2018

Death penalty

Discipline
Institution
Publication
Publication Type

Articles 1 - 26 of 26

Full-Text Articles in Law

Virtual Life Sentences: An Exploratory Study, Jessica S. Henry, Christopher Salvatore, Bai-Eyse Pugh Dec 2018

Virtual Life Sentences: An Exploratory Study, Jessica S. Henry, Christopher Salvatore, Bai-Eyse Pugh

Jessica S. Henry

Virtual life sentences are sentences with a term of years that exceed an individual’s natural life expectancy. This exploratory study is one of the first to collect data that establish the existence, prevalence, and scope of virtual life sentences in state prisons in the United States. Initial data reveal that more than 31,000 people in 26 states are serving virtual life sentences for violent and nonviolent offenses, and suggest racial disparities in the distribution of these sentences. This study also presents potential policy implications and suggestions for future research.


An Examination Of The Death Penalty, Alexandra N. Kremer Dec 2018

An Examination Of The Death Penalty, Alexandra N. Kremer

The Downtown Review

The death penalty, or capital punishment, is the use of execution through hanging, beheading, drowning, gas chambers, lethal injection, and electrocution among others in response to a crime. This has spurred much debate on whether it should be used for reasons such as ethics, revenge, economics, effectiveness as a deterrent, and constitutionality. Capital punishment has roots that date back to the 18th century B.C., but, as of 2016, has been abolished in law or practice by more than two thirds of the world’s countries and several states within the United States. Here, the arguments for and against ...


Introduction To The "Lockett V. Ohio At 40 Symposium": Rethinking The Death Penalty 40 Years After The U.S. Supreme Court Decision, Margery B. Koosed Oct 2018

Introduction To The "Lockett V. Ohio At 40 Symposium": Rethinking The Death Penalty 40 Years After The U.S. Supreme Court Decision, Margery B. Koosed

ConLawNOW

Professor Koosed provides an introduction to the symposium on the fortieth anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Lockett v. Ohio, which discusses the backstory and import of the case. The decision in Lockett laid the framework for narrowing application of the death penalty by overturning Ohio’s 1974 era death penalty law, and heralding the significance and breadth of mitigating factors that must be considered by jurors and judges making the life or death decision in the penalty phase of capital cases, and tapped in to issues of disproportionate sentencing (those decided and yet to be).


Lockett Symposium: Is The Supreme Court's Command On Mitigating Circumstances A Spoonful Of Sugar With A Poison Pill For The Death Penalty?, Jeffrey L. Kirchmeier Oct 2018

Lockett Symposium: Is The Supreme Court's Command On Mitigating Circumstances A Spoonful Of Sugar With A Poison Pill For The Death Penalty?, Jeffrey L. Kirchmeier

ConLawNOW

This Article addresses how Lockett v. Ohio and the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence on mitigating factors in capital cases established a more humane death penalty while at the same time undermining the death penalty system. The Court’s emphasis on the constitutional importance of individualized sentencing has, in effect, helped return the U.S. death penalty system to an unconstitutional arbitrary and discriminatory system.

After the U.S. Supreme Court effectively struck down the existing death penalty statutes in 1972, state legislatures responded with new statutes designed to try to make a fairer and less arbitrary death penalty. When the ...


Evaluating Intellectual Disability: Clinical Assessments In Atkins Cases, James W. Ellis, Caroline Everington, Ann M. Delpha Jun 2018

Evaluating Intellectual Disability: Clinical Assessments In Atkins Cases, James W. Ellis, Caroline Everington, Ann M. Delpha

Hofstra Law Review

The intersection of intellectual disability and the death penalty is now clearly established Both under the US. Supreme Court's constitutional decisions and under the terms of many state statutes, individual defendants who have that disability cannot be sentenced to death or executed. It now falls to trial, appellate, and post-conviction courts to determine which individual criminal defendants are entitled to the law's protection.

This Article attempts to assist judges in performing that task. After a brief discussion of the Supreme Court's decisions in Atkins v. Virginia, Hall v. Florida, and Moore v. Texas, it analyzes the component ...


How Strong Is Public Support For The Death Penalty In Singapore?, Wing-Cheong Chan, Ern Ser Tan, Jack Tsen-Ta Lee, Braema Mathi Jun 2018

How Strong Is Public Support For The Death Penalty In Singapore?, Wing-Cheong Chan, Ern Ser Tan, Jack Tsen-Ta Lee, Braema Mathi

Research Collection School Of Law

Singapore is well known internationally for its uncompromising stance towards law and order and its use of the death penalty in particular for murder and drug trafficking. Until 2012, it was one of the few countries in the world where the death penalty was mandatory for persons convicted of these two crimes. The law was amended in 2012 to give a judge the choice to impose the death penalty or life imprisonment (with caning) for non-intentional murder and drug trafficking in some situations. What do Singaporeans think of the use of the death penalty in their own country? This article ...


Mccleskey V. Kemp: Field Notes From 1977-1991, John Charles Boger Jun 2018

Mccleskey V. Kemp: Field Notes From 1977-1991, John Charles Boger

Northwestern University Law Review

The litigation campaign that led to McCleskey v. Kemp did not begin as an anti-death-penalty effort. It grew in soil long washed in the blood of African-Americans, lynched or executed following rude semblances of trials and hasty appeals, which had prompted the NAACP from its very founding to demand “simple justice” in individual criminal cases. When the Warren Court signaled, in the early 1960s, that it might be open to reflection on broader patterns of racial discrimination in capital sentencing, the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) began to gather empirical evidence and craft appropriate constitutional responses. As that effort built, other deficiencies in state capital states became apparent, and LDF eventually asserted a broader constitutional critique of state capital structures and processes. By 1967, LDF and its allies had developed a nationwide “moratorium” campaign that challenged death sentencing statutes in virtually every state.

Though the campaign appeared poised for partial success in 1969, changes in Court personnel and shifts in the nation’s mood dashed LDF’s initial hopes. Yet unexpectedly, in 1972, five Justices ruled in Furman v. Georgia that all death sentences and all capital statutes nationwide would fall under the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments. Each of the nine Furman Justices wrote separately, without a single governing rationale beyond their expressed uneasiness that the death penalty was being imposed infrequently, capriciously, and in an arbitrary manner. Thirty-five states promptly enacted new and revised capital statutes. Four years later, a majority of the Court held that three of those new state statutes met Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment standards. The 1976 Court majority expressed confidence that the states’ newly revised procedures should work to curb the arbitrariness and capriciousness that had earlier troubled the Furman majority.

The McCleskey case emerged from subsequent review of post-Furman sentencing patterns in the State of Georgia. A brilliant and exhaustive study by Professor David Baldus and his colleagues demonstrated that the Court’s assumptions in 1976 were wrong; strong racial disparities in capital sentencing continued to persist statewide in Georgia—especially in cases in ...


Eight Justices Are Enough: A Proposal To Improve The United States Supreme Court, Eric J. Segall May 2018

Eight Justices Are Enough: A Proposal To Improve The United States Supreme Court, Eric J. Segall

Pepperdine Law Review

Over the last twenty-five years, some of the most significant Supreme Court decisions involving issues of national significance like abortion, affirmative action, and voting rights were five-to-four decisions. In February 2016, the death of Justice Antonin Scalia turned the nine-Justice court into an eight-Justice court, comprised of four liberal and four conservative Justices, for the first time in our nation’s history. This article proposes that an evenly divided court consisting of eight Justices is the ideal Supreme Court composition. Although the other two branches of government have evolved over the years, the Supreme Court has undergone virtually no significant ...


Death In America Under Color Of Law: Our Long, Inglorious Experience With Capital Punishment, Rob Warden, Daniel Lennard May 2018

Death In America Under Color Of Law: Our Long, Inglorious Experience With Capital Punishment, Rob Warden, Daniel Lennard

Northwestern Journal of Law & Social Policy

No abstract provided.


The Concept Of “Unusual Punishments” In Anglo-American Law: The Death Penalty As Arbitrary, Discriminatory, And Cruel And Unusual, John D. Bessler May 2018

The Concept Of “Unusual Punishments” In Anglo-American Law: The Death Penalty As Arbitrary, Discriminatory, And Cruel And Unusual, John D. Bessler

Northwestern Journal of Law & Social Policy

The Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, like the English Bill of Rights before it, safeguards against the infliction of “cruel and unusual punishments.” To better understand the meaning of that provision, this Article explores the concept of “unusual punishments” and its opposite, “usual punishments.” In particular, this Article traces the use of the “usual” and “unusual” punishments terminology in Anglo-American sources to shed new light on the Eighth Amendment’s Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause. The Article surveys historical references to “usual” and “unusual” punishments in early English and American texts, then analyzes the development of American constitutional ...


Virtual Life Sentences: An Exploratory Study, Jessica S. Henry, Christopher Salvatore, Bai-Eyse Pugh Apr 2018

Virtual Life Sentences: An Exploratory Study, Jessica S. Henry, Christopher Salvatore, Bai-Eyse Pugh

Department of Justice Studies Faculty Scholarship and Creative Works

Virtual life sentences are sentences with a term of years that exceed an individual’s natural life expectancy. This exploratory study is one of the first to collect data that establish the existence, prevalence, and scope of virtual life sentences in state prisons in the United States. Initial data reveal that more than 31,000 people in 26 states are serving virtual life sentences for violent and nonviolent offenses, and suggest racial disparities in the distribution of these sentences. This study also presents potential policy implications and suggestions for future research.


All Bathwater, No Baby: Expressive Theories Of Punishment And The Death Penalty, Susan A. Bandes Apr 2018

All Bathwater, No Baby: Expressive Theories Of Punishment And The Death Penalty, Susan A. Bandes

Michigan Law Review

A review of Carol S. Steiker and Jordan M. Steiker, Courting Death: The Supreme Court and Capital Punishment.


African Courts And Separation Of Powers: A Comparative Study Of Judicial Review In Uganda & South, Joseph M. Isanga Mar 2018

African Courts And Separation Of Powers: A Comparative Study Of Judicial Review In Uganda & South, Joseph M. Isanga

Joseph Isanga

Achieving political stability in a transitional democracy is a fundamental goal, the resoluteness of which is in part maintained by courts of judicial review that are independent from political bias and devoid of deference to traditionally more powerful branches of government. The recent democratic transitions occurring in the African nations of South Africa and Uganda provide a unique, contemporary insight into the formation of a constitutional jurisprudence. This study is an examination of pivotal cases decided by the Constitutional Courts of South Africa and Uganda, the roles that these decisions play in political stability, and the potential for political bias ...


Dissecting The Aba Texas Capital Punishment Assessment Report Of 2013: Death And Texas, A Surprising Improvement, Patrick S. Metze Feb 2018

Dissecting The Aba Texas Capital Punishment Assessment Report Of 2013: Death And Texas, A Surprising Improvement, Patrick S. Metze

Akron Law Review

Professor Metze dissects the American Bar Association report, September 2013, entitled Evaluating Fairness and Accuracy in State Death Penalty Systems: The Texas Capital Punishment Assessment Report—An Analysis of Texas’s Death Penalty Laws, Procedures and Practices. This Report was produced by the ABA’s Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities, specifically the Death Penalty Due Process Review Project, which identified 12 inadequacies in the Texas Capital Punishment System, recommended changes, and evaluated compliance. Now, four years and two legislative sessions later, this Article explores what Texas has done in the interim to improve its death penalty process. Incredibly, the ...


Evolved Standards, Evolving Justices? The Case For A Broader Application Of The Eighth Amendment, William W. Berry Iii Jan 2018

Evolved Standards, Evolving Justices? The Case For A Broader Application Of The Eighth Amendment, William W. Berry Iii

Washington University Law Review

In its Eighth Amendment cases, the Supreme Court has often cited counter-majoritarian considerations as the basis for exercising judicial restraint. As a result, excessive and draconian punishments persist in the United States, with the Court being hesitant to use the Constitution to bar state punishment practices.

The Court’s evolving standards of decency doctrine, however, is majoritarian. As this Article argues, the doctrinal framework of the Court alleviates the counter-majoritarian difficulty, as the Court’s applications of the Eighth Amendment mirror majoritarian practices and only strike down outlier punishments.

Given the lack of justification for judicial restraint under the Eighth ...


The Death Penalty As Incapacitation, Marah S. Mcleod Jan 2018

The Death Penalty As Incapacitation, Marah S. Mcleod

Journal Articles

Courts and commentators give scant attention to the incapacitation rationale for capital punishment, focusing instead on retribution and deterrence. The idea that execution may be justified to prevent further violence by dangerous prisoners is often ignored in death penalty commentary. The view on the ground could not be more different. Hundreds of executions have been premised on the need to protect society from dangerous offenders. Two states require a finding of future dangerousness for any death sentence, and over a dozen others treat it as an aggravating factor that turns murder into a capital crime.

How can courts and commentators ...


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 ...


Whether The Bright-Line Cut-Off Rule And The Adversarial Expert Explanation Of Adaptive Functioning Exacerbates Capital Juror Comprehension Of The Intellectual Disability, Leona Deborah Jochnowitz Jan 2018

Whether The Bright-Line Cut-Off Rule And The Adversarial Expert Explanation Of Adaptive Functioning Exacerbates Capital Juror Comprehension Of The Intellectual Disability, Leona Deborah Jochnowitz

Touro Law Review

No abstract provided.


Execution Methods In A Nutshell, Deborah W. Denno Jan 2018

Execution Methods In A Nutshell, Deborah W. Denno

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Legal Vs. Factual Normative Questions & The True Scope Of Ring, Emad H. Atiq Jan 2018

Legal Vs. Factual Normative Questions & The True Scope Of Ring, Emad H. Atiq

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

When is a normative question a question of law rather than a question offact? The short answer, based on common law and constitutional rulings, is: it depends. For example, if the question concerns the fairness of contractual terms, it is a question of law. If it concerns the reasonableness of dangerous risk-taking in a negligence suit, it is a question of fact. If it concerns the obscenity of speech, it was a question of fact prior to the Supreme Court's seminal cases on free speech during the 1970s, but is now treated as law-like. This variance in the case ...


Convictions Of Innocent People With Intellectual Disability, Sheri Johnson, John H. Blume, Amelia Courtney Hritz Jan 2018

Convictions Of Innocent People With Intellectual Disability, Sheri Johnson, John H. Blume, Amelia Courtney Hritz

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

In Atkins v. Virginia, the Supreme Court held that executing individuals with intellectual disability violates the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause of the Eighth Amendment. In addition to concerns over culpability and deterrence, the Court’s judgment in Atkins was informed by the heightened “risk of wrongful execution” faced by persons with intellectual disability. This essay explores that question both anecdotally and quantitatively, hoping to illuminate the causes of wrongful conviction of persons with intellectual disability. We provide examples from our experiences in the Cornell Death Penalty Clinic and cases brought to our attention by defense attorneys. We also present ...


The Republican Party, Conservatives, And The Future Of Capital Punishment, Ben Jones Jan 2018

The Republican Party, Conservatives, And The Future Of Capital Punishment, Ben Jones

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

The United States has experienced a significant decline in the death penalty during the first part of the twenty-first century, as death sentences, executions, public support, and states with capital punishment all have declined. Many recent reforms banning or placing a moratorium on executions have occurred in blue states, in line with the notion that ending the death penalty is a progressive cause. Challenging this narrative, however, is the emergence of Republican lawmakers as champions of death penalty repeal legislation in red states. This Article puts these efforts by Republican lawmakers into historical context and explains the conservative case against ...


Police, Race, And The Production Of Capital Homicides, Jeffrey A. Fagan, Amanda Geller Jan 2018

Police, Race, And The Production Of Capital Homicides, Jeffrey A. Fagan, Amanda Geller

Faculty Scholarship

Racial disparities in capital punishment have been well documented for decades. Over 50 studies have shown that Black defendants more likely than their white counterparts to be charged with capital-eligible crimes, to be convicted and sentenced to death. Racial disparities in charging and sentencing in capital-eligible homicides are the largest for the small number of cases where black defendants murder white victims compared to within-race killings, or where whites murder black or other ethnic minority victims. These patterns are robust to rich controls for non-racial characteristics and state sentencing guidelines. This article backs up the research on racial disparities to ...


Deterrence, David Crump Jan 2018

Deterrence, David Crump

St. Mary's Law Journal

Abstract forthcoming


The Doctrine Of Severability In Constitutional Review: A Perspective From Singapore, Benjamin Joshua Ong Jan 2018

The Doctrine Of Severability In Constitutional Review: A Perspective From Singapore, Benjamin Joshua Ong

Research Collection School Of Law

The Singapore Court of Appeal’s decision in Prabagaran a/l Srivijayan v Public Prosecutor represents a substantial development in Singapore’s law on the doctrine of severability in constitutional review. An examination of Prabagaran reveals rich theoretical underpinnings relating to the nature of legislative intent. The case rightly locates the crux of the severability inquiry in secondary legislative intention, i.e. the legislature’s intention, at the time a statute was enacted, as to what should happen in the event that part of the statute is later held to be unconstitutional. This approach is preferable to the approach of ...


The Abolitionist Movement Comes Of Age: From Capital Punishment As A Lawful Sanction To A Peremptory, International Law Norm Barring Executions, John D. Bessler Jan 2018

The Abolitionist Movement Comes Of Age: From Capital Punishment As A Lawful Sanction To A Peremptory, International Law Norm Barring Executions, John D. Bessler

All Faculty Scholarship

The anti-death penalty movement is rooted in the Enlightenment, dating back to the publication of the Italian philosopher Cesare Beccaria’s treatise, Dei delitti e delle pene (1764). That book, later translated into English as An Essay on Crimes and Punishments (1767), has inspired anti-death penalty advocacy for more than 250 years. This Article traces the development of the abolitionist movement since Beccaria’s time. In particular, it highlights how the debate over capital punishment has shifted from one focused primarily on the severity of monarchical punishments, to deterrence, to one framed by the concept of universal human rights, including ...