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Full-Text Articles in Law

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 Italian Enlightenment And The American Revolution: Cesare Beccaria's Forgotten Influence On American Law, John Bessler Jan 2017

The Italian Enlightenment And The American Revolution: Cesare Beccaria's Forgotten Influence On American Law, John Bessler

All Faculty Scholarship

The influence of the Italian Enlightenment—the Illuminismo—on the American Revolution has long been neglected. While historians regularly acknowledge the influence of European thinkers such as William Blackstone, John Locke and Montesquieu, Cesare Beccaria’s contributions to the origins and development of American law have largely been forgotten by twenty-first century Americans. In fact, Beccaria’s book, Dei delitti e delle pene (1764), translated into English as On Crimes and Punishments (1767), significantly shaped the views of American revolutionaries and lawmakers. The first four U.S. Presidents—George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison—were inspired by ...


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.


Killing The Non-Willing: Atkins, The Volitionally Incapacitated, And The Death Penalty, John H. Blume, Sheri Lynn Johnson Dec 2014

Killing The Non-Willing: Atkins, The Volitionally Incapacitated, And The Death Penalty, John H. Blume, Sheri Lynn Johnson

Sheri Lynn Johnson

Jamie Wilson, nineteen years old and severely mentally ill, walked into a school cafeteria and started shooting. Two children died, and Jamie was charged with two counts of capital murder. Because he admitted his guilt, the only issue at his trial was the appropriate punishment. The trial judge assigned to his case, after hearing expert testimony on his mental state, found that mental illness rendered Jamie unable to conform his conduct to the requirements of law at the time of the crime—not impaired by his mental illness in his ability to control his behavior, but unable to control his ...


Probing "Life Qualification" Through Expanded Voir Dire, John H. Blume, Sheri Lynn Johnson, A. Brian Threlkeld Dec 2014

Probing "Life Qualification" Through Expanded Voir Dire, John H. Blume, Sheri Lynn Johnson, A. Brian Threlkeld

Sheri Lynn Johnson

The conventional wisdom is that most trials are won or lost in jury selection. If this is true, then in many capital cases, jury selection is literally a matter of life or death. Given these high stakes and Supreme Court case law setting out standards for voir dire in capital cases, one might expect a sophisticated and thoughtful process in which each side carefully considers which jurors would be best in the particular case. Instead, it turns out that voir dire in capital cases is woefully ineffective at the most elementary task--weeding out unqualified jurors. Empirical evidence reveals that many ...


Killing The Non-Willing: Atkins, The Volitionally Incapacitated, And The Death Penalty, John Blume, Sheri Lynn Johnson Dec 2014

Killing The Non-Willing: Atkins, The Volitionally Incapacitated, And The Death Penalty, John Blume, Sheri Lynn Johnson

John H. Blume

Jamie Wilson, nineteen years old and severely mentally ill, walked into a school cafeteria and started shooting. Two children died, and Jamie was charged with two counts of capital murder. Because he admitted his guilt, the only issue at his trial was the appropriate punishment. The trial judge assigned to his case, after hearing expert testimony on his mental state, found that mental illness rendered Jamie unable to conform his conduct to the requirements of law at the time of the crime—not impaired by his mental illness in his ability to control his behavior, but unable to control his ...


Probing "Life Qualification" Through Expanded Voir Dire, John H. Blume, Sheri Lynn Johnson, A. Brian Threlkeld Dec 2014

Probing "Life Qualification" Through Expanded Voir Dire, John H. Blume, Sheri Lynn Johnson, A. Brian Threlkeld

John H. Blume

The conventional wisdom is that most trials are won or lost in jury selection. If this is true, then in many capital cases, jury selection is literally a matter of life or death. Given these high stakes and Supreme Court case law setting out standards for voir dire in capital cases, one might expect a sophisticated and thoughtful process in which each side carefully considers which jurors would be best in the particular case. Instead, it turns out that voir dire in capital cases is woefully ineffective at the most elementary task--weeding out unqualified jurors. Empirical evidence reveals that many ...


An Anachronism Too Discordant To Be Suffered: A Comparative Study Of Parliamentary And Presidential Approaches To Regulation Of The Death Penalty, Derek R. Verhagen Aug 2013

An Anachronism Too Discordant To Be Suffered: A Comparative Study Of Parliamentary And Presidential Approaches To Regulation Of The Death Penalty, Derek R. Verhagen

Derek R VerHagen

It is well-documented that the United States remains the only western democracy to retain the death penalty and finds itself ranked among the world's leading human rights violators in executions per year. However, prior to the Gregg v. Georgia decision in 1976, ending America's first and only moratorium on capital punishment, the U.S. was well in line with the rest of the civilized world in its approach to the death penalty. This Note argues that America's return to the death penalty is based primarily on the differences between classic parliamentary approaches to regulation and that of ...


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 Anomaly Of Executions: The Cruel And Unusual Punishments Clause In The 21st Century, John Bessler Jan 2013

The Anomaly Of Executions: The Cruel And Unusual Punishments Clause In The 21st Century, John Bessler

All Faculty Scholarship

This Article describes the anomaly of executions in the context of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Eighth Amendment jurisprudence. While the Supreme Court routinely reads the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause to protect prisoners from harm, the Court simultaneously interprets the Eighth Amendment to allow inmates to be executed. Corporal punishments short of death have long been abandoned in America’s penal system, yet executions — at least in a few locales, heavily concentrated in the South — persist. This Article, which seeks a principled and much more consistent interpretation of the Eighth Amendment, argues that executions should be declared unconstitutional ...


Tinkering Around The Edges: The Supreme Court's Death Penalty Jurisprudence, John Bessler Oct 2012

Tinkering Around The Edges: The Supreme Court's Death Penalty Jurisprudence, John Bessler

All Faculty Scholarship

This Essay examines America's death penalty forty years after Furman and provides a critique of the Supreme Court's existing Eighth Amendment case law. Part I briefly summarizes how the Court, to date, has approached death sentences, while Part II highlights the incongruous manner in which the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause has been read. For instance, Justice Antonin Scalia-one of the Court's most vocal proponents of "originalism" conceded that corporal punishments such as handbranding and public flogging are no longer constitutionally permissible; yet, he (and the Court itself) continues to allow death sentences to be imposed. The ...


Domestic Violence And State Intervention In The American West And Australia, 1860-1930, Carolyn B. Ramsey Jan 2011

Domestic Violence And State Intervention In The American West And Australia, 1860-1930, Carolyn B. Ramsey

Articles

This Article calls into question stereotypical assumptions about the presumed lack of state intervention in the family and the patriarchal violence of Anglo-American frontier societies in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. By analyzing previously unexamined cases of domestic assault and homicide in the American West and Australia, Professor Ramsey reveals a sustained (but largely ineffectual) effort to civilize men by punishing violence against women. Husbands in both the American West and Australia were routinely arrested or summoned to court for beating their wives in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Judges, police officers, journalists, and others expressed dismay ...


Intimate Homicide: Gender And Crime Control, 1880-1920, Carolyn B. Ramsey Jan 2006

Intimate Homicide: Gender And Crime Control, 1880-1920, Carolyn B. Ramsey

Articles

The received wisdom, among feminists and others, is that historically the criminal justice system tolerated male violence against women. This article dramatically revises feminist understanding of the legal history of public responses to intimate homicide by showing that, in both the eastern and the western United States, men accused of killing their intimates often received stern punishment, including the death penalty, whereas women charged with similar crimes were treated leniently. Although no formal "battered woman's defense" existed in the late 1800s and early 1900s, courts and juries implicitly recognized one--and even extended it to abandoned women who killed their ...


The Botched Hanging Of William Williams: How Too Much Rope And Minnesota’S Newspapers Brought An End To The Death Penalty In Minnesota, John Bessler Mar 2004

The Botched Hanging Of William Williams: How Too Much Rope And Minnesota’S Newspapers Brought An End To The Death Penalty In Minnesota, John Bessler

All Faculty Scholarship

This article describes Minnesota's last state-sanctioned execution: that of William Williams, who was hanged in 1906 in the basement of the Ramsey County Jail. Convicted of killing a teenage boy, Williams was tried on murder charges in 1905 and was put to death in February of the following year. Because the county sheriff miscalculated the length of the rope, the hanging was botched, with Williams hitting the floor when the trap door was opened. Three deputies, standing on the scaffold, thereafter seized the rope and forcibly pulled it up until Williams - fourteen and half minutes later - died by strangulation ...


Killing The Non-Willing: Atkins, The Volitionally Incapacitated, And The Death Penalty, John H. Blume, Sheri Lynn Johnson Oct 2003

Killing The Non-Willing: Atkins, The Volitionally Incapacitated, And The Death Penalty, John H. Blume, Sheri Lynn Johnson

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Jamie Wilson, nineteen years old and severely mentally ill, walked into a school cafeteria and started shooting. Two children died, and Jamie was charged with two counts of capital murder. Because he admitted his guilt, the only issue at his trial was the appropriate punishment. The trial judge assigned to his case, after hearing expert testimony on his mental state, found that mental illness rendered Jamie unable to conform his conduct to the requirements of law at the time of the crime—not impaired by his mental illness in his ability to control his behavior, but unable to control his ...


The Innocence Revolution And Our "Evolving Standards Of Decency" In Death Penalty Jurisprudence, Mark A. Godsey, Thomas Pulley Jan 2003

The Innocence Revolution And Our "Evolving Standards Of Decency" In Death Penalty Jurisprudence, Mark A. Godsey, Thomas Pulley

Faculty Articles and Other Publications

One cannot adequately consider whether the current administration of the death penalty in America measures up to modern notions of decency without doing so in light of the revolution that has occurred over the past decade in the American criminal-justice system - the Innocence Revolution. Up through the 1990s, as a society, we believed our criminal-justice system was highly accurate, but the recent advent of DNA testing and other advanced technologies has demonstrated the naiveté of such beliefs. This article will discuss the history of the Innocence Revolution, examine the impact of that revolution on our society, and ask: "What should ...


The Discretionary Power Of "Public" Prosecutors In Historical Perspective, Carolyn B. Ramsey Jan 2002

The Discretionary Power Of "Public" Prosecutors In Historical Perspective, Carolyn B. Ramsey

Articles

Norms urging prosecutors to seek justice by playing a quasi-judicial role and striving for fairness to defendants are often assumed to have deep historical roots. Yet, in fact, such a conception of the prosecutor's role is relatively new. Based on archival research on the papers of the New York County District Attorney's Office, "The Discretionary Power of 'Public' Prosecutors in Historical Perspective" explores the meaning of the word "public" as it applied to prosecutors in the nineteenth century. This article shows that, in the early days of public prosecution, district attorneys were expected to maximize convictions and leave ...


Probing "Life Qualification" Through Expanded Voir Dire, John H. Blume, Sheri Lynn Johnson, A. Brian Threlkeld Jul 2001

Probing "Life Qualification" Through Expanded Voir Dire, John H. Blume, Sheri Lynn Johnson, A. Brian Threlkeld

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

The conventional wisdom is that most trials are won or lost in jury selection. If this is true, then in many capital cases, jury selection is literally a matter of life or death. Given these high stakes and Supreme Court case law setting out standards for voir dire in capital cases, one might expect a sophisticated and thoughtful process in which each side carefully considers which jurors would be best in the particular case. Instead, it turns out that voir dire in capital cases is woefully ineffective at the most elementary task--weeding out unqualified jurors.

Empirical evidence reveals that many ...


Still Unfair, Still Arbitrary - But Do We Care?, Samuel R. Gross Jan 2000

Still Unfair, Still Arbitrary - But Do We Care?, Samuel R. Gross

Other Publications

Welcome. It is a pleasure to see everybody at this bright and cheery hour of the morning. My assignment is to try to give an overview of the status of the death penalty in America at the beginning of the twenty-first century. I will try to put that in the context of how the death penalty was viewed thirty years ago, or more, and maybe that will tell us something about how the death penalty will be viewed thirty or forty years from now.


Life, Death And The Law - And Why Capital Punishment Is Legally Insupportable , Peter Fitzpatrick Jan 1999

Life, Death And The Law - And Why Capital Punishment Is Legally Insupportable , Peter Fitzpatrick

Cleveland State Law Review

Given that law has an integral commitment to life, in this lecture I want to show how the law should manifest something of a fundamental dissonance, even a terminal incoherence, when law is called upon to deal death. That is what happens in the judicial discourse on the death penalty in the United States. I will approach this demonstration in a way that may at first seem paradoxical, in a way that will bring out the deep affinity between law and death. That affinity is one in which death is, in a sense, the limit of law; a limit that ...


Revenge For The Condemned, Sara Sun Beale, Paul H. Haagen May 1996

Revenge For The Condemned, Sara Sun Beale, Paul H. Haagen

Michigan Law Review

A Review of V.A.C. Gatrell, The Hanging Tree: Execution and the English People 1770-1868


The Romance Of Revenge: Capital Punishment In America, Samuel R. Gross Jan 1993

The Romance Of Revenge: Capital Punishment In America, Samuel R. Gross

Articles

On February 17, 1992, Jeffrey Dahmer was sentenced to 15 consecutive terms of life imprisonment for killing and dismembering 15 young men and boys (Associated Press 1992a). Dahmer had been arrested six months earlier, on July 22, 1991. On January 13 he pled guilty to the fifteen murder counts against him, leaving open only the issue of his sanity. Jury selection began two weeks later, and the trial proper started on January 30. The jury heard two weeks of testimony about murder, mutilation and necrophilia; they deliberated for 5 hours before finding that Dahmer was sane when he committed these ...


Habeas Corpus And The Penalty Of Death, Michael E. Tigar Jan 1990

Habeas Corpus And The Penalty Of Death, Michael E. Tigar

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Judicial Conscience And Natural Rights: A Reply To Professor Jaffa, Bruce Ledewitz Jan 1987

Judicial Conscience And Natural Rights: A Reply To Professor Jaffa, Bruce Ledewitz

Seattle University Law Review

This Article replies to Professor Harry V. Jaffa’s article “What Were the ‘Original Intentions’ of the Framers of the Constitution of the United States?” The Article focuses on the gap the author argues Professor Jaffa left between the consciousness of the Framers and the practice of judicial review today. The author argues that the understanding that Professor Jaffa brings to the intent of the Framers is one that opens up the Constitution to the call of justice, but the author critiques the utility of Professor Jaffa’s work in resolving the contentious constitutional issues of today, including abortion and ...


Societal Concepts Of Criminal Liability For Homicide In Medieval England, Thomas A. Green Jan 1972

Societal Concepts Of Criminal Liability For Homicide In Medieval England, Thomas A. Green

Articles

THE early history of English criminal law lies hidden behind the laconic formulas of the rolls and law books. The rules of the law, as expounded by the judges, have been the subject of many studies; but their practical application in the courts, where the jury of the community was the final and unbridled arbiter, remains a mystery: in short, we know little of the social mores regarding crime and crimi- nals. This study represents an attempt to delineate one major aspect of these societal attitudes. Its thesis is that from late Anglo-Saxon times to the end of the middle ...


The Courts Of Judea, Jerome C. Knowlton Jan 1894

The Courts Of Judea, Jerome C. Knowlton

Articles

The study of Jewish jurisprudence has become interesting during the past ten years through the efforts of some painstaking scholars, who have not been burdened with any particular dogma, but have been actuated by a true Christian spirit. They have been close students of those portions of the Talmud which throw light on the jurisprudence of the Jews.