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Full-Text Articles in Law

Without Limitation: 'Groundhog Day' For Incompetent Defendants, J. Amy Dillard Jul 2007

Without Limitation: 'Groundhog Day' For Incompetent Defendants, J. Amy Dillard

All Faculty Scholarship

This Article offers a brief overview of the standards for determining competency to stand trial. After examining the seminal case of Jackson v. Indiana, which held that the indefinite pre-trial detention of incompetent defendants violates due process, this Article argues that Virginia Code § 19.2-169.3, like statutes in twenty other states, violates a defendant's right to substantive due process, including the right to be free from forcible medication. This Article proposes legislation that will make the process constitutional, while addressing the concerns about the release of dangerous individuals held by the prosecutors and the community.


"It's Like Deja Vu All Over Again": Williams V. Taylor, Wiggins V. Smith, Rompilla V. Beard And A (Partial) Return To The Guidelines Approach To The Effective Assistance Of Counsel, John H. Blume, Stacey D. Neumann Apr 2007

"It's Like Deja Vu All Over Again": Williams V. Taylor, Wiggins V. Smith, Rompilla V. Beard And A (Partial) Return To The Guidelines Approach To The Effective Assistance Of Counsel, John H. Blume, Stacey D. Neumann

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Shoddy lawyering in capital cases is well documented. Many defendants facing the death penalty end up on death row not because of the heinousness of the crime they committed but rather because of the poor quality of trial counsel's performance. Despite the acknowledgment of sometimes shockingly poor representation by academics, litigators and even judges, most post-conviction claims of ineffective assistance of counsel are unsuccessful. Why? The legal standard for adjudicating these allegations which the Court adopted in Strickland v. Washington, which requires a defendant to demonstrate that his lawyer's performance was outside the "wide range of competent assistance ...


Furman Fundamentals, Corinna Barrett Lain Jan 2007

Furman Fundamentals, Corinna Barrett Lain

Law Faculty Publications

For the first time in a long time, the Supreme Court's most important death penalty decisions all have gone the defendant's way. Is the Court's newfound willingness to protect capital defendants just a reflection of the times, or could it have come even without public support for those protections? At first glance, history allows for optimism. Furman v. Georgia, the 1972 landmark decision that invalidated the death penalty, provides a seemingly perfect example of the Court's ability and inclination to protect capital defendants when no one else will. Furman looks countermajoritarian, scholars have claimed it was ...


Categorical Exclusions From Capital Punishment: How Many Wrongs Make A Right?, Dora W. Klein Jan 2007

Categorical Exclusions From Capital Punishment: How Many Wrongs Make A Right?, Dora W. Klein

Faculty Articles

The two categorical exclusions of age and mental capacity will impact not only those offenders who are excluded from the death penalty, but also those offenders who remain subject to this punishment. The Supreme Court’s decisions in Roper v. Simmons and Atkins v. Virginia raise the issue that a capital-punishment-limiting decision possesses wrongs of its own. Both decisions limit the death penalty—Roper excludes from this punishment offenders who committed their crimes before they were eighteen years old and Atkins excludes offenders who are mentally retarded. But in both cases, the Supreme Court overstated the uniformity and universality of ...


Neuroimaging And The "Complexity" Of Capital Punishment, O. Carter Snead Jan 2007

Neuroimaging And The "Complexity" Of Capital Punishment, O. Carter Snead

Journal Articles

The growing use of brain imaging technology to explore the causes of morally, socially, and legally relevant behavior is the subject of much discussion and controversy in both scholarly and popular circles. From the efforts of cognitive neuroscientists in the courtroom and the public square, the contours of a project to transform capital sentencing both in principle and in practice have emerged. In the short term, these scientists seek to play a role in the process of capital sentencing by serving as mitigation experts for defendants, invoking neuroimaging research on the roots of criminal violence to support their arguments. Over ...


But Can It Be Fixed? A Look At Constitutional Challenges To Lethal Injection Executions, Ellen Kreitzberg, David Richter Jan 2007

But Can It Be Fixed? A Look At Constitutional Challenges To Lethal Injection Executions, Ellen Kreitzberg, David Richter

Faculty Publications

This article argues that California's Procedure 770 as currently implemented is unconstitutional. Judge Fogel, after an exhaustive review of evidence from all parties,agrees. Although Judge Fogel believes that the lethal injection system, while broken "can be fixed," we argue that lethal injection, as a method of execution, is always unconstitutional because the procedures employed in its administration can never ensure against unnecessary risk of pain to the inmate. We also argue that the California legislature must step in to publicly review lethal injection executions and to investigate the conduct of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR ...


Deciding Death, Corinna Barrett Lain Jan 2007

Deciding Death, Corinna Barrett Lain

Law Faculty Publications

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 way ...


Pope John Paul Ii, Vatican Ii, And Capital Punishment, Howard Bromberg Jan 2007

Pope John Paul Ii, Vatican Ii, And Capital Punishment, Howard Bromberg

Articles

Part I of this Article describe s Pope John Paul II’s teaching on capital punishment as based on the Scriptures and expressed in Evangelium Vitae and the Catechism. Part II examines the authority with which this doctrine was issued. Part III suggests that this teaching represents the “traditional teaching of the Church,” although a “more perfect expression” of that teaching than has heretofore been recognized. Parts IV and V indicate why the papacy of John Paul II-—“this time, in which God in His hidden design has entrusted to me... very close to the year 2000”-—was ripe for ...


Does Stare Decisis Apply In The Eighth Amendment Death Penalty Context, Meghan J. Ryan Jan 2007

Does Stare Decisis Apply In The Eighth Amendment Death Penalty Context, Meghan J. Ryan

Faculty Journal Articles and Book Chapters

Throughout the past few decades, the Supreme Court has steadily chipped away at the death penalty. It was only recently, however, that courts have confronted what role precedent plays in the Eighth Amendment death penalty context. Surprisingly, few scholars have yet explored this important and complicated issue. Precedent in this area is unique because the law of the Eighth Amendment is always changing and the Eighth Amendment has been interpreted to be applied more broadly in the death penalty context. This Article argues that precedent in the Eighth Amendment death penalty context does not apply in the typical fashion. Instead ...


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 ...