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Full-Text Articles in Law

A Jury Of One: Opinion Formation, Conformity, And Dissent On Juries, Nicole L. Waters, Valerie P. Hans Sep 2009

A Jury Of One: Opinion Formation, Conformity, And Dissent On Juries, Nicole L. Waters, Valerie P. Hans

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Approximately 6 percent of criminal juries hang. But, how many dissenters carry the jury, hang the jury, or conform to the majority’s wishes? This article examines the formation of individual verdict preferences, the impact of deliberation, and the role of the dissenter using data from nearly 3,500 jurors who decided felony cases. Jurors were asked: “If it were entirely up to you as a one-person jury, what would your verdict have been in this case?” Over one-third of jurors, privately, would have voted against their jury’s decision. Analyses identify the characteristics of jurors who dissent, and distinguish ...


Of Atkins And Men: Deviations From Clinical Definitions Of Mental Retardation In Death Penalty Cases, John H. Blume, Sheri Johnson, Christopher W. Seeds Jul 2009

Of Atkins And Men: Deviations From Clinical Definitions Of Mental Retardation In Death Penalty Cases, John H. Blume, Sheri Johnson, Christopher W. Seeds

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Under Atkins v. Virginia, the Eighth Amendment exempts from execution individuals who meet the clinical definitions of mental retardation set forth by the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and the American Psychiatric Association. Both define mental retardation as significantly subaverage intellectual functioning accompanied by significant limitations in adaptive functioning, originating before the age of 18. Since Atkins, most jurisdictions have adopted definitions of mental retardation that conform to those definitions. But some states, looking often to stereotypes of persons with mental retardation, apply exclusion criteria that deviate from and are more restrictive than the accepted scientific and clinical ...


Taking A Stand On Taking The Stand: The Effect Of A Prior Criminal Record On The Decision To Testify And On Trial Outcomes, Theodore Eisenberg, Valerie P. Hans Jan 2009

Taking A Stand On Taking The Stand: The Effect Of A Prior Criminal Record On The Decision To Testify And On Trial Outcomes, Theodore Eisenberg, Valerie P. Hans

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

This article uses unique data from over 300 criminal trials in four large counties to study the relations between the existence of a prior criminal record and defendants testifying at trial, between testifying at trial and juries' learning about a criminal record, and between juries' learning about a criminal record and their decisions to convict or acquit. Sixty percent of defendants without criminal records testified compared to 45 percent with criminal records. For testifying defendants with criminal records, juries learned of those records in about half the cases. Juries rarely learned about criminal records unless defendants testified. After controlling for ...


The Dilemma Of The Criminal Defendant With A Prior Record - Lessons From The Wrongfully Convicted, John H. Blume Sep 2008

The Dilemma Of The Criminal Defendant With A Prior Record - Lessons From The Wrongfully Convicted, John H. Blume

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

This article examines challenges the conventional wisdom that an innocent defendants will testify on their own behalf at trial. Data gathered from the cases of persons subsequently exonerated due to DNA evidence demonstrates that factually innocent defendants do not testify on their own behalf at substantially higher rates than criminal defendants generally. Why? The primary reason is that many of these individuals had been previously convicted of a crime, and they did not testify at trial because of the risk that their credibility would be impeached with evidence of the prior record and, despite any limiting instruction the court might ...


An Evaluation Of The Need For And Functioning Of The Federal Sentencing Guidelines In The United States And Nigeria, Victoria T. Kajo May 2008

An Evaluation Of The Need For And Functioning Of The Federal Sentencing Guidelines In The United States And Nigeria, Victoria T. Kajo

Cornell Law School Inter-University Graduate Student Conference Papers

The United States Federal Sentencing Guidelines, in use since 1987, was set up to reduce disparity in sentencing and its application was made mandatory. Though there are a few who are in favor of the guidelines, the guidelines as mandatory have been severely criticized and many have called for their abolition. Consequently, in the twin cases of United States v. Booker and United States v. Fanfan (2005) 125 S.Ct. 738, the US Supreme Court delivered judgment that had the effect of making the guidelines discretionary.

While the Nigerian legal system shares a Common Law background with the United States ...


Suspension And The Extrajudicial Constitution, Trevor W. Morrison Nov 2007

Suspension And The Extrajudicial Constitution, Trevor W. Morrison

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

What happens when Congress suspends the writ of habeas corpus? Everyone agrees that suspending habeas makes that particular - and particularly important - judicial remedy unavailable for those detained by the government. But does suspension also affect the underlying legality of the detention? That is, in addition to making the habeas remedy unavailable, does suspension convert an otherwise unlawful detention into a lawful one? Some, including Justice Scalia in the 2004 case Hamdi v. Rumsfeld and Professor David Shapiro in an important recent article, answer yes.

This Article answers no. I previously offered that same answer in a symposium essay; this Article ...


Every Juror Wants A Story: Narrative Relevance, Third Party Guilt And The Right To Present A Defense, John H. Blume, Sheri L. Johnson, Emily C. Paavola Jul 2007

Every Juror Wants A Story: Narrative Relevance, Third Party Guilt And The Right To Present A Defense, John H. Blume, Sheri L. Johnson, Emily C. Paavola

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

On occasion, criminal defendants hope to convince a jury that the state has not met its burden of proving them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by offering evidence that someone else (a third party) committed the crime. Currently, state and federal courts assess the admissibility of evidence of third-party guilt using a variety of standards. In general, however, there are two basic approaches. Many state courts require a defendant to proffer evidence of some sort of direct link or connection between a specific third-party and the crime. A second group of state courts, as well as federal courts, admit evidence ...


Racism, Unreasonable Belief, And Bernhard Goetz, Stephen P. Garvey Feb 2007

Racism, Unreasonable Belief, And Bernhard Goetz, Stephen P. Garvey

Cornell Law Faculty Working Papers

How should the law respond when one person (D) kills another person (V), who is black, because D believes that V is about to kill him, but D would not have so believed if V had been white? Should D be exonerated on grounds of self-defense? The canonical case raising this question is People v. Goetz. Some commentators argue that norms of equal treatment and anti-discrimination require that D’s claim of self-defense be rejected. I argue that denying D’s claim of self-defense would be at odds with the principle that criminal liability should only be imposed on an ...


What's Wrong With Involuntary Manslaughter?, Stephen P. Garvey Sep 2006

What's Wrong With Involuntary Manslaughter?, Stephen P. Garvey

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Efforts to explain when and why the state can legitimately impose retributive punishment on an actor who inadvertently creates an unjustified risk of causing death (and death results) typically rely on one of two theories. The prior-choice theory claims that retributive punishment for inadvertent lethal risk-creation is justified if and only if the actor's inadvertence or ignorance was a but-for and proximate result of a prior culpable choice. The hypothetical-choice theory claims that retributive punishment for inadvertent lethal risk-creation is justified if and only if the actor would have chosen to take the risk if he had been aware ...


Looking Deathworthy: Perceived Stereotypicality Of Black Defendants Predicts Capital-Sentencing Outcomes, Jennifer L. Eberhardt, P G. Davies, Valerie J. Purdie-Vaughns, Sheri Lynn Johnson May 2006

Looking Deathworthy: Perceived Stereotypicality Of Black Defendants Predicts Capital-Sentencing Outcomes, Jennifer L. Eberhardt, P G. Davies, Valerie J. Purdie-Vaughns, Sheri Lynn Johnson

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Researchers previously have investigated the role of race in capital sentencing, and in particular, whether the race of the defendant or victim influences the likelihood of a death sentence. In the present study, we examined whether the likelihood of being sentenced to death is influenced by the degree to which a Black defendant is perceived to have a stereotypically Black appearance. Controlling for a wide array of factors, we found that in cases involving a White victim, the more stereotypically Black a defendant is perceived to be, the more likely that person is to be sentenced to death.


Saddam Hussein's Trial In Iraq: Fairness, Legitimacy & Alternatives, A Legal Analysis, Christian Eckart May 2006

Saddam Hussein's Trial In Iraq: Fairness, Legitimacy & Alternatives, A Legal Analysis, Christian Eckart

Cornell Law School J.D. Student Research Papers

The paper focuses on Saddam Hussein’s trial in front of the Iraqi High Criminal Court in Baghdad. After providing an overview of the facts surrounding the court’s installation, the applicable international law is identified and the fairness and legitimacy of the current proceedings are analyzed. The paper finishes by considering whether the trial should be relocated and addresses alternative venues that could have been chosen to prosecute Iraq’s ex-dictator.


Killing The Willing: "Volunteers," Suicide And Competency, John H. Blume Sep 2004

Killing The Willing: "Volunteers," Suicide And Competency, John H. Blume

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Of the 822 executions, in the modern era of capital punishment, 106 involved volunteers, or inmates who chose to waive their appeals and permit the death sentence to be carried out. The debate about volunteers, although intense, has primarily been polemic. Those who wish to curtail a death row inmate’s ability to waive his appeals refer to volunteer cases as nothing more than “state assisted suicide;” advocates of permitting inmates to choose execution reject the suicide label, instead focusing on respect for a death row inmate’s right to choose whether to accept his punishment.

This article takes a ...


Criminal Case Complexity: An Empirical Perspective, Michael Heise Jun 2004

Criminal Case Complexity: An Empirical Perspective, Michael Heise

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Criminal case complexity persists as a central tenet in many academic and public critiques of our legal system even though little is known about two critical questions. One question is whether key actors (juries, attorneys, and judges) view case complexity similarly. In other words, do juries, attorneys, and judges agree on whether a case is complex? A second question involves the determinants of case complexity for each group. That is, what factors make a case more (or less) complex for juries, attorneys, and judges. This article explores both questions from an empirical perspective with the benefit of recent data from ...


Victim Impact Statements In Capital Trials: A Selected Bibliography, Jean M. Callihan Mar 2003

Victim Impact Statements In Capital Trials: A Selected Bibliography, Jean M. Callihan

Cornell Law Faculty Working Papers

This bibliography collects and organizes citations to dissertations, chapters in books, journal articles, legislative materials, books, and book reviews from 1980 forward that analyze the effect of victim impact statements in capital cases. The main purpose of the bibliography is to present citations to empirical studies and quantitative evaluations of victim impact statements in the United States and other countries. Because there are few reported empirical studies, the bibliography also contains references to articles that provide qualitative analyses of victim impact statements in criminal trials and of participatory rights of victims in the justice process in general.