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Full-Text Articles in Entertainment, Arts, and Sports Law

Repudiating Death, William W. Berry Iii Jan 2011

Repudiating Death, William W. Berry Iii

William W Berry III

In recent years, three Supreme Court justices, Powell, Blackmun, and Stevens, have all called for the abolition of the death penalty, repudiating their prior approval of the use of capital punishment. This article conceptualizes these reversals not as normative shifts on the morality of capital punishment, but instead as shifts in the justices' views concerning their own need to exercise judicial restraint towards the states with respect to the death penalty. Two separate decisions comprise their abandonment of judicial restraint. First, Powell, Blackmun, and Stevens all acquiesce to the decision of the Court to use the Eighth Amendment to regulate ...


Ending Death By Dangerousness, William W. Berry Iii Jan 2010

Ending Death By Dangerousness, William W. Berry Iii

William W Berry III

The use of the death penalty (both in number of new death sentences and actual executions) has been steadily decreasing in the past decade. This decrease has largely been attributed to two phenomena: (1) the continued discovery of individuals on death row who are actually innocent of the crimes they committed and (2) the increasing use of life without parole as a sentencing alternative to the death penalty. Abolitionists have successfully seized upon the first of these in raising continuing doubts about the use of the death penalty. This article proposes a deeper exploration of the second, the availability of ...


More Different Than Life, Less Different Than Death, William W. Berry Iii Jan 2010

More Different Than Life, Less Different Than Death, William W. Berry Iii

William W Berry III

The Supreme Court has traditionally divided its application of the Eighth Amendment into two categories, capital and non-capital cases, based on the longstanding notion that “death- is-different.” In the recent case of Graham v. Florida, however, the Supreme Court applied its “evolving standards of decency” standard, heretofore reserved for capital cases, to a non-capital case in holding that the Eighth Amendment prohibited states from sentencing juvenile offenders to life without parole for non-homicide crimes. The dissenting justices argued that this decision marked the end of the Court’s “death-is-different” jurisprudence. This article argues, however, that the decision instead creates the ...


Extraordinary And Compelling: A Re-Examination Of The Justifications For Compassionate Release, William W. Berry Iii Jan 2009

Extraordinary And Compelling: A Re-Examination Of The Justifications For Compassionate Release, William W. Berry Iii

William W Berry III

Federal law, unbeknownst to many, includes a provision that permits the immediate release of federal prisoners. This safety valve provision requires that the Director of the Bureau of Prisons make a motion on behalf of the prisoner in order to secure the prisoner's compassionate release. Far from being a veiled version of parole, this compassionate release provision is to be used only in circumstances deemed "extraordinary and compelling." While the Bureau of Prisons has read this language very narrowly for many years, considering only terminally ill inmates as candidates for compassionate release, the Sentencing Commission modified its Guideline commentary ...


Discretion Without Guidance, William W. Berry Iii Jan 2008

Discretion Without Guidance, William W. Berry Iii

William W Berry III

The exercise of the discretion accorded to a judge in determining the sentence of a convicted criminal offender bears directly on the coherence and the legitimacy of any criminal justice system. The United States federal criminal sentencing system has, at various points in time over the past century, employed schemes that have approached either the one extreme of unfettered judicial discretion or the other extreme of highly restricted judicial discretion. In January, 2005, the United States Supreme Court held in United States v. Booker that the mandatory federal sentencing guidelines, the source of the strict restriction on judicial discretion for ...


American Procedural Exceptionalism, William W. Berry Iii Jan 2008

American Procedural Exceptionalism, William W. Berry Iii

William W Berry III

This article offers a new theory to explain the persistence of the death penalty in the United States at a time when most western nations have abolished it. Contrary to cultural explanations that have been advanced by other scholars, this piece hypothesizes that the retention is best explained by "American procedural exceptionalism," defined as the unique American belief in the efficacy and fairness of its legal process. This American exceptionalism of process validates the expression of the impulse toward retribution commonly found in western nations. In other words, the perceived fairness of the process affirms the retributive notion that the ...