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Bucklew V. Precythe: The Power Of Assumptions And Lethal Injection, Renata Gomez Mar 2019

Bucklew V. Precythe: The Power Of Assumptions And Lethal Injection, Renata Gomez

Duke Journal of Constitutional Law & Public Policy Sidebar

Once again, the Supreme Court of the United States has an opportunity to determine the extent to which death-row inmates can bring as-applied challenges to the states’ method of execution and prevent possible botched executions. In Bucklew v. Precythe, the Court will confront the assumptions that the execution team is equipped to handle any execution and that the procedure will go as planned. Additionally, the Court will determine whether the standard articulated in Glossip v. Gross, which requires inmates asserting facial challenges to the states’ method of execution to plead a readily available alternative method of execution, further …


The State Of The Death Penalty, Ankur Desai, Brandon L. Garrett Jan 2019

The State Of The Death Penalty, Ankur Desai, Brandon L. Garrett

Faculty Scholarship

The death penalty is in decline in America and most death penalty states do not regularly impose death sentences. In 2016 and 2017, states reached modern lows in imposed death sentences, with just thirty-one defendants sentenced to death in 2016 and thirty-nine in 2017, as compared with over three hundred per year in the 1990s. In 2016, only thirteen states imposed death sentences, and in 2017, fourteen did so, although thirty-one states retain the death penalty. What explains this remarkable and quite unexpected trend? In this Article, we present new analysis of state-level legislative changes that might have been expected …


The Decline Of The Virginia (And American) Death Penalty, Brandon L. Garrett Jan 2017

The Decline Of The Virginia (And American) Death Penalty, Brandon L. Garrett

Faculty Scholarship

The American death penalty is disappearing. Death sentences and executions have reached the lowest levels seen in three decades. Even the states formerly most aggressive in pursuit of death sentences have seen death sentences steadily decline. Take Virginia, which has the highest rate of executions of any death penalty state, and which has executed the third highest number of prisoners since the 1970s. How times have changed. There has not been a new death sentence in Virginia since 2011. Only seven counties have imposed death sentences in the past decade in Virginia. There are now two or fewer trials a …


Capital Jurors In An Era Of Death Penalty Decline, Brandon L. Garrett, Daniel Krauss, Nicholas Scurich Jan 2017

Capital Jurors In An Era Of Death Penalty Decline, Brandon L. Garrett, Daniel Krauss, Nicholas Scurich

Faculty Scholarship

The state of public opinion regarding the death penalty has not experienced such flux since the late 1960s. Death sentences and executions have reached their lowest annual numbers since the early 1970s and today, the public appears fairly evenly split in its views on the death penalty. In this Essay, we explore, first, whether these changes in public opinion mean that fewer people will be qualified to serve on death penalty trials as jurors, and second, whether potential jurors are affected by changes in the practice of the death penalty. We conducted surveys of persons reporting for jury duty at …


The American Death Penalty Decline, Brandon L. Garrett, Alexander Jakubow, Ankur Desai Jan 2017

The American Death Penalty Decline, Brandon L. Garrett, Alexander Jakubow, Ankur Desai

Faculty Scholarship

American death sentences have both declined and become concentrated in a small group of counties. In his dissenting opinion in Glossip v. Gross in 2014, Justice Stephen Breyer highlighted how from 2004 to 2006, "just 29 counties (fewer than 1% of counties in the country) accounted for approximately half of all death sentences imposed nationwide." That decline has become more dramatic. In 2015, fifty-one defendants were sentenced to death in thirty-eight counties. In 2016, thirty-one defendants were sentenced to death in twenty-eight counties. In the mid-1990s, by way of contrast, over 300 people were sentenced to death in as many …


The Death Penalty And The Fifth Amendment, Joseph Blocher Jan 2016

The Death Penalty And The Fifth Amendment, Joseph Blocher

Faculty Scholarship

Can the Supreme Court find unconstitutional something that the text of the Constitution “contemplates”? If the Bill of Rights mentions a punishment, does that make it a “permissible legislative choice” immune to independent constitutional challenges?

Recent developments have given new hope to those seeking constitutional abolition of the death penalty. But some supporters of the death penalty continue to argue, as they have since Furman v. Georgia, that the death penalty must be constitutional because the Fifth Amendment explicitly contemplates it. The appeal of this argument is obvious, but its strength is largely superficial, and is also mostly irrelevant …


Missing Mcveigh, Michael E. Tigar Jan 2014

Missing Mcveigh, Michael E. Tigar

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Public Opinion And The Abolition Or Retention Of The Death Penalty Why Is The United States Different?, Sara Sun Beale Jan 2014

Public Opinion And The Abolition Or Retention Of The Death Penalty Why Is The United States Different?, Sara Sun Beale

Faculty Scholarship

What explains the difference between the United States and the many other countries that have abolished capital punishment? Because the United States and many other nations that have abolished the death penalty are democracies, there seems to be an obvious answer: abolition or retention reflects the preferences of the electorate. According to this view, the U.S. electorate is simply more punitive, and the question becomes explaining the difference in national attitudes. There is some truth to this explanation. As I have argued elsewhere, the U.S. public generally does favor punitive criminal justice policies. But that cannot be the whole story. …


Brief Of Public Law Scholars As Amici Curiae In Support Of Petitioner, Ernest A. Young Jan 2014

Brief Of Public Law Scholars As Amici Curiae In Support Of Petitioner, Ernest A. Young

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


The North Carolina Racial Justice Act: An Essay On Substantive And Procedural Fairness In Death Penalty Litigation, Neil Vidmar Jan 2012

The North Carolina Racial Justice Act: An Essay On Substantive And Procedural Fairness In Death Penalty Litigation, Neil Vidmar

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Blind Dates: When Should The Statute Of Limitations Begin To Run On A Method-Of-Execution Challenge?, Ty Alper Jan 2011

Blind Dates: When Should The Statute Of Limitations Begin To Run On A Method-Of-Execution Challenge?, Ty Alper

Duke Law Journal

This Article is the first to take a comprehensive look at the issue of statute-of-limitations accrual in method-of-execution cases. In other words, when does the clock start ticking on a death row inmate's right to challenge the way in which the state intends to execute him? Most circuit courts have held that method-of-execution challenges accrue at the completion of the direct appeal process. This means that death row inmates in these jurisdictions must file method-of-execution challenges years, and sometimes even decades, before an actual execution is scheduled. Although this approach has been the subject of much criticism, even the dissenting …


The Last Bankrupt Hanged: Balancing Incentives In The Development Of Bankruptcy Law, Emily Kadens Apr 2010

The Last Bankrupt Hanged: Balancing Incentives In The Development Of Bankruptcy Law, Emily Kadens

Duke Law Journal

This Article frames the history of the Anglo-American bankruptcy tradition as a search for solutions to the basic problem that has from the first underlain the bankruptcy process: how to obtain the assistance of a debtor in his financial dismantling. The pivotal moment in this story came in the years 1705 and 1706, when the English Parliament drafted a bill making the bankrupt's refusal to cooperate with the commissioners running his bankruptcy a capital crime. Almost as an afterthought, they also introduced discharge of debt. Incentivizing cooperation with discharge would have a fruitful future. Coercing the debtor to be honest, …


Victims, “Closure,” And The Sociology Of Emotion, Susan A. Bandes Apr 2009

Victims, “Closure,” And The Sociology Of Emotion, Susan A. Bandes

Law and Contemporary Problems

Bandes discusses the polarizing function of victim impact statements used in the context of the death penalty. The use of victim impact statements is justified in order to promote closure for the victim, but it's unclear what psychological closure can be accomplished from the formal litigation process. Even if victim impact statements do help their authors, in the context of the death penalty the authors are family members of the victim, not the direct victim, and Bandes questions whether it's important to further their interests at the expense of the interests of the defendant. The only recourse for the jury …


The Deterrent Effect Of Death Penalty Eligibility: Evidence From The Adoption Of Child Murder Eligibility Factors, Michael D. Frakes, Matthew Harding Jan 2009

The Deterrent Effect Of Death Penalty Eligibility: Evidence From The Adoption Of Child Murder Eligibility Factors, Michael D. Frakes, Matthew Harding

Faculty Scholarship

We draw on within-state variations in the reach of capital punishment statutes between 1977 and 2004 to identify the deterrent effects associated with capital eligibility. Focusing on the most prevalent eligibility expansion, we estimate that the adoption of a child murder factor is associated with an approximately 20% reduction in the homicide rate of youth victims. Eligibility expansions may enhance deterrence by (1) paving the way for more executions and (2) providing prosecutors with greater leverage to secure enhanced non-capital sentences. While executions themselves are rare, this latter channel is likely to be triggered fairly regularly, providing a reasonable basis …


Cruel And Unequal Punishment, Nita A. Farahany Jan 2009

Cruel And Unequal Punishment, Nita A. Farahany

Faculty Scholarship

This article argues Atkins and its progeny of categorical exemptions to the death penalty create and new and as of yet undiscovered interaction between the Eighth and the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The United States Supreme Court, the legal academy and commentators have failed to consider the relationship between the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause and the Equal Protection Clause that the Court's new Eighth Amendment jurisprudence demands. This article puts forth a new synthesis of these two clauses, and demonstrates how the Court's new Eighth Amendment jurisprudence has remarkable Fourteenth Amendment implications. To see the point in …


Deciding Death, Corinna Barrett Lain Oct 2007

Deciding Death, Corinna Barrett Lain

Duke Law Journal

When the Supreme Court is deciding death, how much does law matter? Scholars long have lamented the majoritarian nature of the Court's Eighth Amendment '' evolving standards of decency '' doctrine, but their criticism misses the mark. Majoritarian doctrine does not drive the Court's decisions in this area; majoritarian forces elsewhere do. To make my point, I first examine three sets of '' evolving standards '' death penalty decisions in which the Court implicitly or explicitly reversed itself, attacking the legal justification for the Court's change of position and offering an extralegal explanation for why those cases came out the …


Bad Nature, Bad Nurture, And Testimony Regarding Maoa And Slc6a4 Genotyping In Murder Trials, Nita A. Farahany, William Bernet, Cindy L. Vnencak-Jones, Stephen A. Montgomery Jan 2007

Bad Nature, Bad Nurture, And Testimony Regarding Maoa And Slc6a4 Genotyping In Murder Trials, Nita A. Farahany, William Bernet, Cindy L. Vnencak-Jones, Stephen A. Montgomery

Faculty Scholarship

Recent research—in which subjects were studied longitudinally from childhood until adulthood—has started to clarify how a child’s environment and genetic makeup interact to create a violent adolescent or adult. For example, male subjects who were born with a particular allele of the monoamine oxidase A gene and also were maltreated as children had a much greater likelihood of manifesting violent antisocial behavior as adolescents and adults. Also, individuals who were born with particular alleles of the serotonin transporter gene and also experienced multiple stressful life events were more likely to manifest serious depression and suicidality. This research raises the question …


Revisiting The Legal Link Between Genetics And Crime, Deborah W. Denno Apr 2006

Revisiting The Legal Link Between Genetics And Crime, Deborah W. Denno

Law and Contemporary Problems

In 1994, convicted murderer Stephen Mobley became a cause celebre when he appealed his death sentence before the Georgia Supreme Court in the case of Mobley v. State. Denno describes the potential implications arising from the high-profile case of Stephen Mobley. He sought to introduce a then-cutting-edge theory that violence could be based on a genetic or neurochemical abnormality as mitigating evidence during capital sentencing.


Acculturation And The Development Of Death Penalty Doctrine In The United States, Krista L. Patterson Apr 2006

Acculturation And The Development Of Death Penalty Doctrine In The United States, Krista L. Patterson

Duke Law Journal

No abstract provided.


The Juvenile Death Penalty And International Law, Curtis A. Bradley Dec 2002

The Juvenile Death Penalty And International Law, Curtis A. Bradley

Duke Law Journal

The United States is almost alone among nations in permitting the execution of juvenile offenders. Citing this fact, along with a variety of legal and historical materials, litigants and scholars are increasingly claiming that the United States' use of the juvenile death penalty violates international law. This Article examines the validity of this claim, from the perspective of both the international legal system and the U. S. legal system. Based on a detailed examination of the United States' interaction with treaty regimes and international institutions since the late 1940s, the Article concludes that the international law arguments against the juvenile …


A Feminist Look At The Death Penalty, Amy E. Pope Jan 2002

A Feminist Look At The Death Penalty, Amy E. Pope

Law and Contemporary Problems

Pope gives an exploration of the need for a feminist perspective on capital punishment. She then begins to determine which feminist methodology is most appropriate to an analysis of the death penalty.


The Constitutional Failure Of The Strickland Standard In Capital Cases Under The Eighth Amendment, Amy R. Murphy Jul 2000

The Constitutional Failure Of The Strickland Standard In Capital Cases Under The Eighth Amendment, Amy R. Murphy

Law and Contemporary Problems

Criminal defendants are guaranteed the right to effective assistance of counsel under the Sixth Amendment, but the Supreme Court's decision in "Strickland" has given appellate courts overly broad discretion to determine exactly what constitutes ineffective assistance of counsel. Murphy reviews the right to counsel and discusses the crucial role of counsel in capital cases throughout the trial and appellate processes.


Kids Who Kill: A Critique Of How The American Legal System Deals With Juveniles Who Commit Homicide, Mirah A. Horowitz Jul 2000

Kids Who Kill: A Critique Of How The American Legal System Deals With Juveniles Who Commit Homicide, Mirah A. Horowitz

Law and Contemporary Problems

Horowitz looks at the reasons why juveniles commit homicides and suggests more effective ways for society to address the problem presented by child killers.


Eighth Amendment Meanings From The Aba’S Moratorium Resolution, Louis D. Bilionis Oct 1998

Eighth Amendment Meanings From The Aba’S Moratorium Resolution, Louis D. Bilionis

Law and Contemporary Problems

Bilionis argues that the American Bar Association's moratorium resolution on capital punishment doesn't challenge the capacity of the Eighth Amendment.


Racial Disparity And The Death Penalty, John C. Mcadams Oct 1998

Racial Disparity And The Death Penalty, John C. Mcadams

Law and Contemporary Problems

McAdams examines the rhetoric and data supporting the "mass market" version of the racial disparity thesis. The system is racist in that it punishes those who kill whites more severely than those who kill blacks.


Appendix: American Bar Association Resolution Oct 1998

Appendix: American Bar Association Resolution

Law and Contemporary Problems

The ABA's resolution and report regarding its moratorium on capital punishment is offered.


Defending Categorical Exemptions To The Death Penalty: Reflections On The Aba’S Resolutions Concerning The Execution Of Juveniles And Persons With Mental Retardation, Carol Steiker, Jordan Steiker Oct 1998

Defending Categorical Exemptions To The Death Penalty: Reflections On The Aba’S Resolutions Concerning The Execution Of Juveniles And Persons With Mental Retardation, Carol Steiker, Jordan Steiker

Law and Contemporary Problems

Steiker and Steiker discuss the ABA's resolutions regarding the execution of juveniles and persons with mental retardation. The strongest legal case for the ABA's position requires a more nuanced argument than the ABA has advanced.


The Execution Of The Innocent, Michael L. Radelet, Hugo Adam Bedau Oct 1998

The Execution Of The Innocent, Michael L. Radelet, Hugo Adam Bedau

Law and Contemporary Problems

Radelet and Bedau discuss the continuing and regular incidence of American trial courts sentencing innocent defendants to death, which was one of the problems that gave rise to the ABA's moratorium on capital punishment.


Lost Lives: Miscarriages Of Justice In Capital Cases, Samuel R. Gross Oct 1998

Lost Lives: Miscarriages Of Justice In Capital Cases, Samuel R. Gross

Law and Contemporary Problems

Gross discusses the incidence of erroneous convictions for capital murder, which are systematic consequences of the natuere of homicide prosection in general and capital prosecution in particular.


Moratorium On The Death Penalty For Juveniles, Victor L. Streib Oct 1998

Moratorium On The Death Penalty For Juveniles, Victor L. Streib

Law and Contemporary Problems

Streib offers a sketch of the sentences and actual executions in the juvenile death penalty system for the past quarter-century. The ABA's moratorium calls for the complete prevention of the execution of offenders under age 18 at the time of their crimes.