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Full-Text Articles in Law

Reliability Matters: Reassociating Bagley Materality, Strickland Prejudice, And Cumulative Harmless Error, John H. Blume, Christopher W. Seeds Jul 2005

Reliability Matters: Reassociating Bagley Materality, Strickland Prejudice, And Cumulative Harmless Error, John H. Blume, Christopher W. Seeds

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Most commonly invoked after conviction and direct appeal, when a defendant may claim that his lawyer was ineffective or that the government failed to disclose exculpatory information, the Brady doctrine, which governs the prosecutor’s duty to disclose favorable evidence to the defense, and the Strickland doctrine, which monitors defense counsel’s duty to represent the client effectively, have developed into the principal safeguards of fair trials, fundamental to the protection of defendants’ constitutional rights and arguably defendants’ strongest insurance of a reliable verdict. But the doctrines do not sufficiently protect these core values.

The doctrines, despite their common due ...


The Innocence Protection Act Of 2004: A Small Step Forward And A Framework For Larger Reforms, Ronald Weich Mar 2005

The Innocence Protection Act Of 2004: A Small Step Forward And A Framework For Larger Reforms, Ronald Weich

All Faculty Scholarship

Passage of the Innocence Protection Act in the closing days of the 108th Congress was a watershed moment. To be sure, the bill that finally became law was a shadow of the more ambitious criminal justice reforms first championed five years earlier by Senator Pat Leahy, Congressman Bill Delahunt and others. But the enactment of legislation designed to strengthen — not weaken — procedural protections for death row inmates was rich in symbolic importance and promise.

Writing in the April 2001 issue of THE CHAMPION (Innocence Protection Act: Death Penalty Reform on the Horizon), I said optimistically: "The criminal justice pendulum may ...


Death Sentence Rates And County Demographics: An Empirical Study, Theodore Eisenberg Jan 2005

Death Sentence Rates And County Demographics: An Empirical Study, Theodore Eisenberg

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

The number of murders in a state largely determines the size of a state's death row. The more murders, the larger the death row. This fundamental relation yields surprising results, including the newsworthy finding that Texas's death sentencing rate is not unusually high. Recent state-level research also underscores the importance of race in the demography of death row. Death penalty research has long emphasized race's role, and with good reason--a racial hierarchy exists in death sentence rates. Black defendants who murder white victims receive death sentences at the highest rate; white defendants who murder white victims receive ...


Expert Testimony In Capital Sentencing: Juror Responses, John H. Montgomery, J. Richard Ciccone, Stephen P. Garvey, Theodore Eisenberg Jan 2005

Expert Testimony In Capital Sentencing: Juror Responses, John H. Montgomery, J. Richard Ciccone, Stephen P. Garvey, Theodore Eisenberg

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

The U.S. Supreme Court, in Furman v. Georgia (1972), held that the death penalty is constitutional only when applied on an individualized basis. The resultant changes in the laws in death penalty states fostered the involvement of psychiatric and psychologic expert witnesses at the sentencing phase of the trial, to testify on two major issues: (1) the mitigating factor of a defendant’s abnormal mental state and (2) the aggravating factor of a defendant’s potential for future violence. This study was an exploration of the responses of capital jurors to psychiatric/psychologic expert testimony during capital sentencing. The ...


Catholic Judges In Capital Cases, John H. Garvey, Amy Coney Barrett Jan 2005

Catholic Judges In Capital Cases, John H. Garvey, Amy Coney Barrett

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

The Catholic Church’s opposition to the death penalty places Catholic judges in a moral and legal bind. While these judges are obliged by oath, professional commitment, and the demands of citizenship to enforce the death penalty, they are also obliged to adhere to their church’s teaching on moral matters. Although the legal system has a solution for this dilemma by allowing the recusal of judges whose convictions keep them from doing their job, Catholic judges will want to sit whenever possible without acting immorally. However, litigants and the general public are entitled to impartial justice, which may be ...