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Death penalty

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Take The Motherless Children Off The Street: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome And The Criminal Justice System, Michael L. Perlin, Heather Ellis Cucolo Apr 2023

Take The Motherless Children Off The Street: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome And The Criminal Justice System, Michael L. Perlin, Heather Ellis Cucolo

Articles & Chapters

Remarkably, there has been minimal academic legal literature about the interplay between fetal alcohol syndrome disorder (FASD) and critical aspects of many criminal trials, including issues related to the role of experts, quality of counsel, competency to stand trial, the insanity defense, and sentencing and the death penalty. Nor has there been any literature about the interplay between FASD-related issues and the legal school of thought known as therapeutic jurisprudence.

In this article, the co-authors will first define fetal alcohol syndrome and explain its significance to the criminal justice system. We will then look at the specific role of experts …


"Insanity Is Smashing Up Against My Soul": The Fifth Circuit And Competency To Be Executed Cases After Panetti V. Quarterman, Michael L. Perlin, Talia Roitberg Harmon Apr 2022

"Insanity Is Smashing Up Against My Soul": The Fifth Circuit And Competency To Be Executed Cases After Panetti V. Quarterman, Michael L. Perlin, Talia Roitberg Harmon

Articles & Chapters

One of the open secrets of death penalty law and policy is the astonishingly high percentage of individuals on death row with serious mental disabilities. This is well known to lawyers who represent this cohort (and presumably, equally well known to the district attorneys who nevertheless prosecute them and the judges who try and sentence them), but is not generally discussed in the press nor, certainly, in political discourse. In the aggregate, this is far beneath society’s radar.

It is now over 14 years since the US Supreme Court decided a case that clarified the underlying issues. In Panetti v. …


"Man Is Opposed To Fair Play": An Empirical Analysis Of How The Fifth Circuit Has Failed To Take Seriously Atkins V. Virginia, Michael L. Perlin, Talia Roitberg Harmon, Sarah Wetzel Jan 2021

"Man Is Opposed To Fair Play": An Empirical Analysis Of How The Fifth Circuit Has Failed To Take Seriously Atkins V. Virginia, Michael L. Perlin, Talia Roitberg Harmon, Sarah Wetzel

Articles & Chapters

In 2002, for the first time, in Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002), the United States Supreme Court found that it violated the Eighth Amendment to subject persons with intellectual disabilities to the death penalty. Since that time, it has returned to this question multiple times, clarifying that inquiries into a defendant’s intellectual disability (for purposes of determining whether he is potentially subject to the death penalty) cannot be limited to a bare numerical “reading” of an IQ score, and that state rules based on superseded medical standards created an unacceptable risk that a person with intellectual disabilities could …


A World Of Steel-Eyed Death: An Empirical Evaluation Of The Failure Of The Strickland Standard To Ensure Adequate Counsel To Defendants With Mental Disabilities Facing The Death Penalty, Michael L. Perlin, Talia Roitberg Harmon, Sarah Chatt Jan 2019

A World Of Steel-Eyed Death: An Empirical Evaluation Of The Failure Of The Strickland Standard To Ensure Adequate Counsel To Defendants With Mental Disabilities Facing The Death Penalty, Michael L. Perlin, Talia Roitberg Harmon, Sarah Chatt

Articles & Chapters

Anyone who has been involved with death penalty litigation in the past four decades knows that one of the most scandalous aspects of that process—in many ways, the most scandalous—is the inadequacy of counsel so often provided to defendants facing execution. By now, virtually anyone with even a passing interest is well versed in the cases and stories about sleeping lawyers, missed deadlines, alcoholic and disoriented lawyers, and, more globally, lawyers who simply failed to vigorously defend their clients. This is not news.

And, in the same vein, anyone who has been so involved with this area of law and …


Merchants And Thieves, Hungry For Power: Prosecutorial Misconduct And Passive Judicial Complicity In Death Penalty Trials Of Defendants With Mental Disabilities, Michael L. Perlin Jan 2016

Merchants And Thieves, Hungry For Power: Prosecutorial Misconduct And Passive Judicial Complicity In Death Penalty Trials Of Defendants With Mental Disabilities, Michael L. Perlin

Articles & Chapters

In spite of the Supreme Court’s decisions in Ford v. Wainwright (1986), Atkins v. Virginia (2002), and Hall v. Florida (2014), persons with severe psychosocial and intellectual disabilities continue to be given death sentences, in some cases leading to actual execution. Although the courts have been aware of this for decades -- dating back at least to the infamous Ricky Rector case in Arkansas -- these base miscarriages of justice continue and show no sign of abating. Scholars have written clearly and pointedly on this issue (certainly, more frequently since the Atkins decision in 2002), but little has changed.

I …


The Executioner’S Face Is Always Well-Hidden: The Role Of Counsel And The Courts In Determining Who Dies, Michael L. Perlin Jan 1996

The Executioner’S Face Is Always Well-Hidden: The Role Of Counsel And The Courts In Determining Who Dies, Michael L. Perlin

Articles & Chapters

No abstract provided.


The Sanist Lives Of Jurors In Death Penalty Cases: The Puzzling Role Of Mitigating Mental Disability Evidence, Michael L. Perlin Jan 1994

The Sanist Lives Of Jurors In Death Penalty Cases: The Puzzling Role Of Mitigating Mental Disability Evidence, Michael L. Perlin

Articles & Chapters

No abstract provided.