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Locked Away For Life: The Case Against Juvenile Life Without Parole For Felony Murder, Jennifer Gomez Oct 2023

Locked Away For Life: The Case Against Juvenile Life Without Parole For Felony Murder, Jennifer Gomez

Golden Gate University Law Review

This Comment argues that life without the possibility of parole is not an appropriate sentence for juveniles who commit felony murder because of the inherent characteristics of juveniles, such as their immaturity and inability to foresee consequences. At the age of seventeen, Riley Briones was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for his involvement in a robbery that resulted in a murder. Abused by his father throughout his childhood, Briones’ use of alcohol and drugs began early at the age of eleven. While he had aspired to attend college, Briones became a teen parent which required him to …


The Court And Capital Punishment On Different Paths: Abolition In Waiting, Carol S. Steiker, Jordan M. Steiker Apr 2023

The Court And Capital Punishment On Different Paths: Abolition In Waiting, Carol S. Steiker, Jordan M. Steiker

Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice

The American death penalty finds itself in an unusual position. On the ground, the practice is weaker than at any other time in our history. Eleven jurisdictions have abandoned the death penalty over the past fifteen years, almost doubling the number of states without the punishment (twenty-three). Executions have declined substantially, totaling twenty-five or fewer a year nationwide for the past six years, compared to an average of seventy-seven a year during the six-year span around the millennium (1997-2002). Most tellingly, death sentences have fallen off a cliff, with fewer the fifty death sentences a year nationwide over the past …


The Gross Injustices Of Capital Punishment: A Torturous Practice And Justice Thurgood Marshall’S Astute Appraisal Of The Death Penalty’S Cruelty, Discriminatory Use, And Unconstitutionality, John D. Bessler Apr 2023

The Gross Injustices Of Capital Punishment: A Torturous Practice And Justice Thurgood Marshall’S Astute Appraisal Of The Death Penalty’S Cruelty, Discriminatory Use, And Unconstitutionality, John D. Bessler

Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice

Through the centuries, capital punishment and torture have been used by monarchs, authoritarian regimes, and judicial systems around the world. Although torture is now expressly outlawed by international law, capital punishment—questioned by Quakers in the seventeenth century and by the Italian philosopher Cesare Beccaria and many others in the following century—has been authorized over time by various legislative bodies, including in the United States. It was Beccaria’s book, Dei delitti e delle pene (1764), translated into French and then into English as An Essay on Crimes and Punishments (1767), that fueled the still-ongoing international movement to outlaw the death penalty. …


Severe Mental Illness And The Death Penalty: A Menu Of Legislative Options, Richard J. Bonnie Apr 2023

Severe Mental Illness And The Death Penalty: A Menu Of Legislative Options, Richard J. Bonnie

Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice

In 2003, the American Bar Association established a Task Force on Mental Disability and the Death Penalty to further specify and implement the Supreme Court’s ruling banning execution of persons with intellectual disability and to consider an analogous ban against imposing the death penalty on defendants with severe mental disorders. The Task Force established formal links with the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the final report was approved by the ABA and the participating organizations in 2005 and 2006. This brief article focuses primarily on diminished responsibility at the time …


Does The Death Penalty Still Matter: Reflections Of A Death Row Lawyer, David I. Bruck Apr 2023

Does The Death Penalty Still Matter: Reflections Of A Death Row Lawyer, David I. Bruck

Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice

This talk was given by Professor David Bruck for the Frances Lewis Law Center at Washington and Lee University School of Law, April, 2002. It is a follow-up to “Does the Death Penalty Matter?,” given by Professor Bruck as the 1990 Ralph E. Shikes Lecture at Harvard Law School.


No Sense Of Decency, Kathryn E. Miller Mar 2023

No Sense Of Decency, Kathryn E. Miller

Articles

For nearly seventy years, the Court has assessed Eighth Amendment claims by evaluating “the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.” In this Article, I examine the evolving standards of decency test, which has long been a punching bag for critics on both the right and the left. Criticism of the doctrine has been fierce, but largely academic until recent years. Some fault the test for being too majoritarian, while others argue that it provides few constraints on the Justices’ discretion, permitting their personal predilections to rule the day. For many, the test is seen …


How They Get Away With Murder: The Intersection Of Capital Punishment, Prosecutor Misconduct, And Systemic Injustice, Rushton Davis Pope Jan 2023

How They Get Away With Murder: The Intersection Of Capital Punishment, Prosecutor Misconduct, And Systemic Injustice, Rushton Davis Pope

Emory Law Journal

Black defendants are executed at a disproportionately high rate, an injustice quietly persisting in the shadow of America’s dark history of slavery and Jim Crow. While a variety of intersectional factors have perpetuated this injustice, the role of prosecutors who commit misconduct to secure a conviction is significant. Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty, but when the prosecutors who carry the burden of proving that guilt choose not to play by the rules, they wantonly and recklessly embrace the risk of convicting—even killing—an innocent person.

This Comment focuses on two primary forms of prosecutor misconduct: Batson violations that occur …


The “Especially Heinous” Aggravator: Sharpshooter Bonuses Do Not Belong In Capital Sentencing Law, Taylor Lopa Nov 2022

The “Especially Heinous” Aggravator: Sharpshooter Bonuses Do Not Belong In Capital Sentencing Law, Taylor Lopa

St. John's Law Review

(Excerpt)

In capital cases, the jury is often left with the onerous decision about whether to impose the death penalty. To help jurors make sentencing decisions, judges will instruct them on how to apply the law. As one juror summarized, “[The judge told us] that we were to make our decision on the basis of his instructions and the law, not what we felt, not what we thought ought to be.” Because of jury instructions like this, jurors know that they must base sentencing decisions on the law rather than their personal beliefs. But what happens when the law itself …


Resurrecting Arbitrariness, Kathryn E. Miller Jul 2022

Resurrecting Arbitrariness, Kathryn E. Miller

Articles

What allows judges to sentence a child to die in prison? For years, they did so without constitutional restriction. That all changed in 2012’s Miller v. Alabama, which banned mandatory sentences of life without parole for children convicted of homicide crimes. Miller held that this extreme sentence was constitutional only for the worst offenders—the “permanently incorrigible.” By embracing individualized sentencing, Miller and its progeny portended a sea change in the way juveniles would be sentenced for serious crimes. But if Miller opened the door to sentencing reform, the Court’s recent decision in Jones v. Mississippi appeared to slam it …


Capital Punishment And The ‘Acnestis’ Of Its Modern Reformation, Sudarsanan Sivakumar Jan 2022

Capital Punishment And The ‘Acnestis’ Of Its Modern Reformation, Sudarsanan Sivakumar

Human Rights Brief

The term “Capital Punishment” encompasses any penalizing punishment that results in the death of people accused of committing a crime.1 This damnation dates back to the Eighteenth Century B.C. in the “Code of Hammurabi,” a misemployed code that ensured the death penalty for twenty-five distinct crimes. People convicted of crimes were made to suffer for their actions in horrific ways, including being burnt alive and drowning.2 Since then, death by hanging has been the conventional method for capital punishment in most of the world.


When Police Volunteer To Kill, Alexandra L. Klein Jan 2022

When Police Volunteer To Kill, Alexandra L. Klein

Scholarly Articles

The Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of lethal injection, yet states continue to struggle with drug shortages and botched executions. Some states have authorized alternative methods of execution, including the firing squad. Utah, which has consistently carried out firing squad executions throughout its history, relies on police officers from the jurisdiction where the crime took place to volunteer to carry out these executions. This represents a plausible--and probable--method for other states in conducting firing squad executions.

Public and academic discussion of the firing squad has centered on questions of pain and suffering. It has not engaged with the consequences …


"Only To Have A Say In The Way He Dies": Bodily Autonomy And Methods Of Execution, Alexandra L. Klein Jan 2022

"Only To Have A Say In The Way He Dies": Bodily Autonomy And Methods Of Execution, Alexandra L. Klein

Scholarly Articles

Capital punishment is one of the most significant intrusions into a person's bodily autonomy; the state takes a person's life. Even though the state has stripped a person on death row of much of their autonomy and intends to kill them, removing all autonomy, a person sentenced to death may, in some circumstances, choose how they will die. While most states rely on a single method of execution, some states permit a condemned person to choose among two or more methods of execution. Constitutional challenges to methods of execution requires the challenger to demonstrate a substantial risk of severe pain …


Limiting Access To Remedies: Select Criminal Law And Procedure Cases From The Supreme Court's 2021-22 Term, Eve Brensike Primus, Justin Hill Jan 2022

Limiting Access To Remedies: Select Criminal Law And Procedure Cases From The Supreme Court's 2021-22 Term, Eve Brensike Primus, Justin Hill

Articles

Although the most memorable cases from the Supreme Court’s 2021-22 Term were on the civil side of its docket, the Court addressed significant cases on the criminal side involving the Confrontation Clause, capital punishment, double jeopardy, criminal jurisdiction in Indian Country, and important statutory interpretation principles, such as the mens rea presumption and the scope of the rule of lenity. Looking back, the Court’s decisions limiting individuals’ access to remedies for violations of their constitutional criminal procedure rights stand out. Shinn v. Ramirez and Shoop v. Twyford drastically limit the ability of persons incarcerated in state facilities to challenge the …


Three Observations About The Worst Of The Worst, Virginia-Style, Corinna Barrett Lain May 2021

Three Observations About The Worst Of The Worst, Virginia-Style, Corinna Barrett Lain

Washington and Lee Law Review Online

Much could be said about Virginia’s historic decision to repeal the death penalty, and Professor Klein’s essay provides a wonderful starting point for any number of important discussions. We could talk about how the decision came to be. Or why the move is so momentous. Or what considerations were particularly important in the decision‑making process. Or where we should go from here. But in this brief comment, I’ll be focusing not on the how, or the why, or the what, or the where, but rather on the who. Who are condemned inmates, both generally and Virginia‑style?


The Societal Impact Of Capital Punishment And Its Future Role In Modern Day America, Laurel Lee Apr 2021

The Societal Impact Of Capital Punishment And Its Future Role In Modern Day America, Laurel Lee

Honors Theses

Capital punishment has been a well-established, although extremely controversial, practice throughout American history. It has been the subject of much criticism and debate both nationally and globally, dating back to ancient times. This study intends to research the historical, legal, and social changes of capital punishment in the United States that have occurred since the dawn of the practice in order to detect any trends, and if so, whether these trends allow a realistic prediction of the future of capital punishment. The chronology of capital punishment is first examined in this study in order to indicate that the controversy surrounding …


The Beginning Of The End: Abolishing Capital Punishment In Virginia, Alexandra L. Klein Mar 2021

The Beginning Of The End: Abolishing Capital Punishment In Virginia, Alexandra L. Klein

Washington and Lee Law Review Online

When thinking about the history of capital punishment in the United States, I suspect that the average person is likely to identify Texas as the state that has played the most significant role in the death penalty. The state of Texas has killed more than five hundred people in executions since the Supreme Court approved of states’ modified capital punishment schemes in 1976. By contrast, Virginia has executed 113 people since 1976.

But Virginia has played a significant role in the history of capital punishment. After all, the first recorded execution in Colonial America took place in 1608 at Jamestown, …


Nine Ways Of Looking At Oklahoma City: An Essay On Sam Anderson’S Boom Town, Rodger D. Citron Jan 2021

Nine Ways Of Looking At Oklahoma City: An Essay On Sam Anderson’S Boom Town, Rodger D. Citron

Scholarly Works

No abstract provided.


When We Breathe: Re-Envisioning Safety And Justice In A Post-Floyd Era, Aya Gruber Jan 2021

When We Breathe: Re-Envisioning Safety And Justice In A Post-Floyd Era, Aya Gruber

Publications

10th Annual David H. Bodiker Lecture on Criminal Justice delivered on Wed., Oct. 21, 2020 at Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.


Mercy In American Law: The Promise Of The Adoption Of The Outlook Of Jewish Law, Yehiel Kaplan Jan 2021

Mercy In American Law: The Promise Of The Adoption Of The Outlook Of Jewish Law, Yehiel Kaplan

Touro Law Review

Under Jewish law, mercy and compassion are essential principles to ensure the presence of a just legal system. Not only do mercy and compassion in the law preserve traditional values of human dignity, implementing a more compassionate legal system has practical benefits in both the spheres of legal judgment and of legal punishment. This article will compare the Jewish legal system’s application of these necessary doctrines to how other modern legal systems, including the American legal system, implement mercy and compassion. As a result of this in-depth comparison, this article recommends that the American legal system, and other modern legal …


Sister Helen Prejean And The Death Penalty: Decades Of Fighting Capital Punishment, University Marketing And Communications, Helen Prejean May 2020

Sister Helen Prejean And The Death Penalty: Decades Of Fighting Capital Punishment, University Marketing And Communications, Helen Prejean

DePaul Download

Sister Helen Prejean has dedicated her life to opposing the death penalty after she witnessed an execution in her home state of Louisiana. Her efforts have sparked a national dialogue on capital punishment and she has helped shape the Catholic Church’s position on the topic. In 2011, she donated her personal archives to the university to help the DePaul community continue to learn from her work. On this episode of DePaul Download, Sister Helen talks about life’s work and what keeps her going.


Supreme Court Clerks And The Death Penalty, Matthew Tokson Apr 2020

Supreme Court Clerks And The Death Penalty, Matthew Tokson

Utah Law Faculty Scholarship

This Essay is part of GW's Supreme Court Clerks at 100 symposium.

The Supreme Court is involved, directly or otherwise, with virtually every execution carried out in the United States. Most executions are appealed to the Court, and inmates commonly request a stay of execution a few days or hours before their scheduled death. The clerks review these requests and recommend a ruling.

A few days after I arrived at the Court, I got my first death penalty assignment. As the date drew near, the defendant asked the Court to stay his execution. I opened his file and began to …


Evolving Standards Of Decency: A View Of 8th Amendment Jurisprudence And The Death Penalty, Jared Lockhart, Madeline Hill Apr 2020

Evolving Standards Of Decency: A View Of 8th Amendment Jurisprudence And The Death Penalty, Jared Lockhart, Madeline Hill

Brigham Young University Prelaw Review

In July 1997, Kenneth Foster was indicted on capital murder charges

and sentenced to death even though he had only committed robbery.

3 On August 14, 1996, Kenneth Foster and his friends, Mauriceo

Brown, DeWayne Dillard, and Julius Steen, rented a car and

drove to downtown San Antonio, Texas. Later that night, Brown

suggested that the men rob a few people in order to make up for the

money they had lost while partying. After their second robbery that

evening, Foster did not want to continue breaking the law, according

to Dillard’s courtroom testimony four years later. Dismissing

his request, …


Nondelegating Death, Alexandra L. Klein Jan 2020

Nondelegating Death, Alexandra L. Klein

Scholarly Articles

Most states’ method of execution statutes afford broad discretion to executive agencies to create execution protocols. Inmates have challenged this discretion, arguing that these statutes unconstitutionally delegate legislative power to executive agencies, violating the state’s nondelegation and separation of powers doctrines. State courts routinely use the nondelegation doctrine, in contrast to the doctrine’s historic disfavor in federal courts. Despite its uncertain status, the nondelegation doctrine is a useful analytical tool to examine decision-making in capital punishment.

This Article critically evaluates responsibility for administering capital punishment through the lens of nondelegation. It analyzes state court decisions upholding broad legislative delegations to …


Book Review Essay: Jewish And American Law: A Comparative Study. (Vols. 1 And 2) By Samuel J. Levine, Marie A. Failinger Jan 2020

Book Review Essay: Jewish And American Law: A Comparative Study. (Vols. 1 And 2) By Samuel J. Levine, Marie A. Failinger

Touro Law Review

No abstract provided.


Urge To Reform Life Without Parole So Nonviolent Addict Offenders Never Serve Lifetime Behind Bars, Johanna Poremba Jan 2020

Urge To Reform Life Without Parole So Nonviolent Addict Offenders Never Serve Lifetime Behind Bars, Johanna Poremba

Touro Law Review

No abstract provided.


Replacing Death With Life? The Rise Of Lwop In The Context Of Abolitionist Campaigns In The United States, Michelle Miao Jan 2020

Replacing Death With Life? The Rise Of Lwop In The Context Of Abolitionist Campaigns In The United States, Michelle Miao

Northwestern Journal of Law & Social Policy

On the basis of fifty-four elite interviews[1] with legislators, judges, attorneys, and civil society advocates as well as a state-by-state data survey, this Article examines the complex linkage between the two major penal trends in American society during the past decades: a declining use of capital punishment across the United States and a growing population of prisoners serving “life without the possibility of parole” or “LWOP” sentences. The main contribution of the research is threefold. First, the research proposes to redefine the boundary between life and death in relation to penal discourses regarding the death penalty and LWOP. LWOP …


Reimagining The Death Penalty: Targeting Christians, Conservatives, Spearit Jan 2020

Reimagining The Death Penalty: Targeting Christians, Conservatives, Spearit

Articles

This Article is an interdisciplinary response to an entrenched legal and cultural problem. It incorporates legal analysis, religious study and the anthropological notion of “culture work” to consider death penalty abolitionism and prospects for abolishing the death penalty in the United States. The Article argues that abolitionists must reimagine their audiences and repackage their message for broader social consumption, particularly for Christian and conservative audiences. Even though abolitionists are characterized by some as “bleeding heart” liberals, this is not an accurate portrayal of how the death penalty maps across the political spectrum. Abolitionists must learn that conservatives are potential allies …


Discretionary Life Sentences For Juveniles: Resolving The Split Between The Virginia Supreme Court And The Fourth Circuit, Daniel M. Coble May 2019

Discretionary Life Sentences For Juveniles: Resolving The Split Between The Virginia Supreme Court And The Fourth Circuit, Daniel M. Coble

Washington and Lee Law Review Online

At the age of 17, Donte Lamar Jones shot and killed a store clerk as she laid down on the floor during a robbery. He was spared the death penalty by agreeing instead to die in prison at the end of his life. Two years later in Virginia, 12 individuals were murdered for doing nothing more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Those individuals were killed by Lee Malvo and John Muhammad, better known as the “D.C. Snipers.” While John Muhammad was given the death penalty for his heinous crimes, Lee Malvo, who was 17 during …


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.


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.