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Capital punishment

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As Seen On Screen: American Ambivalence Shown Through Death Penalty And Vigilante Films, Lisette Donewald May 2022

As Seen On Screen: American Ambivalence Shown Through Death Penalty And Vigilante Films, Lisette Donewald

Honors Scholar Theses

The United States is one of the last western nations still practicing capital punishment. A history of and commitment to vigilantism and its ideals offers an explanation of America’s retention of capital punishment. Employing scholarship on law and popular culture and vigilantism, this thesis finds that pro-death penalty frames are prevalent in vigilante films while anti-death penalty frames are prevalent in films that focus specifically upon capital punishment. Since the 1960’s however, there has been a gradual shift towards anti-death penalty frames and away from pro-death penalty frames as well as changes in the themes presented in the ...


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 ...


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

Articles

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


Getting To Know You: An Expanded Approach To Capital Jury Selection, Samuel P. Newton Jan 2021

Getting To Know You: An Expanded Approach To Capital Jury Selection, Samuel P. Newton

Articles

The Colorado Method of capital jury selection is a widely embraced strategy defense attorneys use to select jurors during voir dire, in which attorneys rank each juror exclusively on the likelihood that the juror will vote for death. The method could benefit from some expansion. Not all defense lawyers have access to Colorado-Method-based training. In innocence cases, defense lawyers should soften discussions of punishment prior to guilt since this tactic predisposes juries to vote for death. Nor do jurors' views or positions on the death penalty guarantee their eventual votes. While capital juries are already inclined to give death sentences ...


Narrowing Death Eligibility In Idaho: An Empirical And Constitutional Analysis, Aliza Plener Cover Jan 2021

Narrowing Death Eligibility In Idaho: An Empirical And Constitutional Analysis, Aliza Plener Cover

Articles

No abstract provided.


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.


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 ...


The Political Development Of Capital Punishment In The Modern Moroccan State, Mia Barr Apr 2020

The Political Development Of Capital Punishment In The Modern Moroccan State, Mia Barr

Independent Study Project (ISP) Collection

The modern Moroccan state seen today is very young. Having only been independent from France since 1956, the country has spent the last sixty-four years crafting its post-colonial statehood. What has emerged is a hybrid political system with powers split, however unequally, between the King and his inner circle, known as the makhzen, and the Parliament. Not only is the monarchy constitutional—meaning that its legitimacy is literally written into the primary governing document of Morocco, which had its last referendum in 2011—but it is also self-sustaining and self-legitimizing, for the monarchy uses its constitutional powers to grant itself ...


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 ...


Response: Race-Of-Victim Disparities And The "Level Up" Problem, Aya Gruber Jan 2020

Response: Race-Of-Victim Disparities And The "Level Up" Problem, Aya Gruber

Articles

No abstract provided.


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 ...


Furman'S Legacy: New Challenges To The Overbreadth Of Capital Punishment, Jeffrey A. Fagan Jan 2020

Furman'S Legacy: New Challenges To The Overbreadth Of Capital Punishment, Jeffrey A. Fagan

Faculty Scholarship

A 2018 decision in the Arizona Supreme Court raised new strong claims that the death penalty in the U.S. has become a "fatal lottery," with critical implications for its constitutionality and its future in American criminal law. In the case, Hidalgo v. Arizona, the defense provided preliminary evidence that over the past twenty years, nearly 98% of all first- and second-degree murder defendants in Maricopa County-the state's largest county and location of the nation's fifth largest city-were death-eligible. The Arizona Supreme Court conceded this point even as it rejected Mr. Hidalgo's appeal. What the Arizona Supreme ...


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 extends to ...


Could The Pope's Call To End The Death Penalty Keep Catholics Off Juries?, Aliza Plener Cover Jan 2019

Could The Pope's Call To End The Death Penalty Keep Catholics Off Juries?, Aliza Plener Cover

Articles

No abstract provided.


The Long Wait For An Improbable Death: A Look At Delays In Executions In Kansas And Possible Reforms To Capital Punishment, Amy M. Memmer, Melanie K. Worsley, Brenda I. Rowe Jan 2019

The Long Wait For An Improbable Death: A Look At Delays In Executions In Kansas And Possible Reforms To Capital Punishment, Amy M. Memmer, Melanie K. Worsley, Brenda I. Rowe

Criminology and Criminal Justice Faculty Publications

This article uses Kansas as a case study to show how in Kansas, as in many other states in the United States, the execution of a death sentence is so improbable, and the delays that precede it so extraordinary, that any arguable deterrent or retributive effect capital punishment might once have had has been severely diminished. This article considers possible reforms to the capital punishment system aimed at reducing the delay between sentencing and execution, and the risks that would accompany those reforms. This article also considers whether capital punishment should still be considered a viable option for states in ...


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 Pope And The Capital Juror, Aliza Plener Cover Dec 2018

The Pope And The Capital Juror, Aliza Plener Cover

Articles

In a significant change to Catholic Church doctrine, Pope Francis recently declared that capital punishment is impermissible under all circumstances. Counterintuitively, the Pope’s pronouncement might make capital punishment less popular but more prevalent in the United States. This Essay anticipates this possible dynamic and, in so doing, explores how “death qualification” of capital juries can insulate the administration of the death penalty when community morality evolves away from capital punishment.


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 ...


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 ...


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

Execution Methods In A Nutshell, Deborah W. Denno

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Arbiters Of Decency: A Study Of Legislators' Eighth Amendment Role, Aliza Plener Cover Jan 2018

Arbiters Of Decency: A Study Of Legislators' Eighth Amendment Role, Aliza Plener Cover

Articles

Within Eighth Amendment doctrine, legislators are arbiters of contemporary values. The United States Supreme Court looks closely to state and federal death penalty legislation to determine whether a given punishment is out of keeping with “evolving standards of decency.” Those who draft, debate, and vote on death penalty laws thus participate in both ordinary and higher lawmaking. This Article investigates this dual role.

We coded and aggregated information about every floor statement made in the legislative debates preceding the recent passage of bills abolishing the death penalty in Connecticut, Illinois, and Nebraska. We categorized all statements according to their position ...


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 ...


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 ...


How Would You Like To Die? Glossip V. Gross Deals Blow To Abolitionists, Brenda I. Rowe Nov 2017

How Would You Like To Die? Glossip V. Gross Deals Blow To Abolitionists, Brenda I. Rowe

Criminology and Criminal Justice Faculty Publications

After capital punishment opponents’ pressure on drug suppliers reduced the lethal injection drug supply, Oklahoma began using midazolam, resulting in botched executions. Condemned inmates sought to stop use of this lethal injection protocol. In Glossip v. Gross, the U.S. Supreme Court found inmates failed to establish such protocols entail a substantial risk of severe pain compared to available alternatives, undermining the supply side attack strategy and leaving inmates facing the possibility of an unnecessarily painful execution. This article places the Glossip decision within the context of method of execution jurisprudence and discusses implications for the ongoing battle over capital ...


If It Walks Like Systematic Exclusion And Quacks Like Systematic Exclusion: Follow-Up On Removal Of Women And African-Americans In Jury Selection In South Carolina Capital Cases, 1997-2014, Ann M. Eisenberg, Amelia Courtney Hritz, Caisa Elizabeth Royer, John H. Blume Apr 2017

If It Walks Like Systematic Exclusion And Quacks Like Systematic Exclusion: Follow-Up On Removal Of Women And African-Americans In Jury Selection In South Carolina Capital Cases, 1997-2014, Ann M. Eisenberg, Amelia Courtney Hritz, Caisa Elizabeth Royer, John H. Blume

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

This Article builds on an earlier study analyzing bases and rates of removal of women and African-American jurors in a set of South Carolina capital cases decided between 1997 and 2012. We examine and assess additional data from new perspectives in order to establish a more robust, statistically strengthened response to the original research question: whether, and if so, why, prospective women and African-American jurors were disproportionately removed in different stages of jury selection in a set of South Carolina capital cases.

The study and the article it builds on add to decades of empirical research exploring the impacts (or ...


The Pre-Furman Juvenile Death Penalty In South Carolina: Young Black Life Was Cheap, Sheri Lynn Johnson, John H. Blume, Hannah L. Freedman Apr 2017

The Pre-Furman Juvenile Death Penalty In South Carolina: Young Black Life Was Cheap, Sheri Lynn Johnson, John H. Blume, Hannah L. Freedman

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Capital punishment in this country, and in South Carolina, has its roots in racial subjugation, stereotype, and animosity. The extreme disparities we report here have dampened due to the combined effects of decreasing levels of open racial antagonism, the reforms of the modem death penalty, including categorical exemptions for juveniles and person with intellectual disabilities and prohibition of the imposition of the death penalty for the crime of rape, and the (small) increase in diversity in capital juries. But dampened does not mean eradicated. Significant disparities in the administration of capital punishment persist today. The color of a defendant's ...


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 ...


What We Think, What We Know And What We Think We Know About False Convictions, Samuel Gross Jan 2017

What We Think, What We Know And What We Think We Know About False Convictions, Samuel Gross

Articles

False convictions are notoriously difficult to study because they can neither be observed when they occur nor identified after the fact by any plausible research strategy. Our best shot is to collect data on those that come to light in legal proceedings that result in the exoneration of the convicted defendants. In May 2012, the National Registry of Exonerations released its first report, covering 873 exonerations from January 1989 through February 2012. By October 15, 2016, we had added 1,027 cases: 599 exonerations since March 1, 2012, and 428 that had already happened when we issued our initial report ...