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Full-Text Articles in Law

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 ...


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 to ...


Three Essays In Criminal Justice, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2015

Three Essays In Criminal Justice, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

How could the New York Times call the grand jury’s decision to no bill the indictment against officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, a “verdict”? How could federal appellate judges call it a “procedural shortcut” when a state judge, in a death penalty case, signs the state attorney general’s proposed judicial opinion without even striking the word “proposed” or reviewing the full opinion? What do these incidents tell us about contemporary criminal justice? These essays explore these puzzles. The first, “Verdict and Illusion,” begins to sketch the role of illusions in justice. The second, “A Singe Voice of ...


Missing Mcveigh, Michael E. Tigar Jan 2014

Missing Mcveigh, Michael E. Tigar

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


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.


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 ...


Book Review: American Jericho: A Book Review Of The Hanging Judge By Michael A. Ponsor, Giovanna Shay Jan 2014

Book Review: American Jericho: A Book Review Of The Hanging Judge By Michael A. Ponsor, Giovanna Shay

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Beccaria's On Crimes And Punishments: A Mirror On The History Of The Foundations Of Modern Criminal Law, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2013

Beccaria's On Crimes And Punishments: A Mirror On The History Of The Foundations Of Modern Criminal Law, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

Beccaria’s treatise "On Crimes and Punishments" (1764) has become a placeholder for the classical school of thought in criminology, for deterrence-based public policy, for death penalty abolitionism, and for liberal ideals of legality and the rule of law. A source of inspiration for Bentham and Blackstone, an object of praise for Voltaire and the Philosophies, a target of pointed critiques by Kant and Hegel, the subject of a genealogy by Foucault, the object of derision by the Physiocrats, rehabilitated and appropriated by the Chicago School of law and economics – these ricochets and reflections on Beccaria’s treatise reveal multiple ...


Minority Practice, Majority’S Burden: The Death Penalty Today, James S. Liebman, Peter Clarke Jan 2011

Minority Practice, Majority’S Burden: The Death Penalty Today, James S. Liebman, Peter Clarke

Faculty Scholarship

Although supported in principle by two-thirds of the public and even more of the States, capital punishment in the United States is a minority practice when the actual death-sentencing practices of the nation’s 3000-plus counties and their populations are considered. This feature of American capital punishment has been present for decades, has become more pronounced recently, and is especially clear when death sentences, which are merely infrequent, are distinguished from executions, which are exceedingly rare.

The first question this Article asks is what forces account for the death-proneness of a minority of American communities? The answer to that question ...


Lethal Discrimination 2: Repairing The Remedies For Racial Discrimination In Capital Sentencing, J. Thomas Sullivan Apr 2010

Lethal Discrimination 2: Repairing The Remedies For Racial Discrimination In Capital Sentencing, J. Thomas Sullivan

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


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 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 ...


Executions, Deterrence And Homicide: A Tale Of Two Cities, Franklin Zimring, Jeffrey Fagan, David T. Johnson Jan 2009

Executions, Deterrence And Homicide: A Tale Of Two Cities, Franklin Zimring, Jeffrey Fagan, David T. Johnson

Faculty Scholarship

We compare homicide rates in two quite similar cities with vastly different execution risks. Singapore had an execution rate close to 1 per million per year until an explosive twentyfold increase in 1994-95 and 1996-97 to a level that we show was probably the highest in the world. Then over the next 11 years, Singapore executions dropped by about 95%. Hong Kong, by contrast,has no executions all during the last generation and abolished capital punishment in 1993. Homicide levels and trends are remarkably similar in these two cities over the 35 years after 1973, with neither the surge in ...


Abolition In The U.S.A. By 2050: On Political Capital And Ordinary Acts Of Resistance, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2008

Abolition In The U.S.A. By 2050: On Political Capital And Ordinary Acts Of Resistance, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

The United States, like the larger international community, likely will tend toward greater abolition of the death penalty during the first half of the twenty-first century. A handful of individual states – states that have historically carried out few or no executions – probably will abolish capital punishment over the next twenty years, which will create political momentum and ultimately a federal constitutional ban on capital punishment in the United States. It is entirely reasonable to expect that, by the mid-twenty-first century, capital punishment will have the same status internationally as torture: an outlier practice, prohibited by international agreements and customary international ...


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 ...


Capital Punishment And Capital Murder: Market Share And The Deterrent Effects Of The Death Penalty, Jeffrey Fagan, Franklin Zimring, Amanda Geller Jan 2006

Capital Punishment And Capital Murder: Market Share And The Deterrent Effects Of The Death Penalty, Jeffrey Fagan, Franklin Zimring, Amanda Geller

Faculty Scholarship

The modem debate on deterrence and capital punishment, now in its fourth decade, was launched by two closely timed events. The first was the 1976 United States Supreme Court decision in Gregg v. Georgia, which restored capital punishment after its brief constitutional ban following Furman v. Georgia in 1972. In 1975, Professor Isaac Ehrlich published an influential article saying that during the 1950s and 1960s, each execution averted eight murders. Although Ehrlich's article was a highly technical study prepared for an audience of economists, its influence went well beyond the economics profession. Ehrlich's work was cited favorably in ...


Ex Post Facto Judicial Clarification Of A Vague Aggravating Circumstance In A Capital Punishment Statute, Kenneth S. Gallant Jan 1990

Ex Post Facto Judicial Clarification Of A Vague Aggravating Circumstance In A Capital Punishment Statute, Kenneth S. Gallant

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


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.


Judges, Lawyers And The Penalty Of Death, Michael E. Tigar Jan 1989

Judges, Lawyers And The Penalty Of Death, Michael E. Tigar

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.