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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Death Dignity Demands: The Eighth Amendment Requires Incarcerated People Decide Their Method Of Execution, Kali A. Haney Mar 2024

The Death Dignity Demands: The Eighth Amendment Requires Incarcerated People Decide Their Method Of Execution, Kali A. Haney

Georgia Criminal Law Review

Recently, there have been a number of incarcerated people on death-row challenging their method of execution and proposing an alternative: usually, firing squad. Courts are hesitant to grant this request for a number of reasons, including the rare use of the firing squad. But there is substantial evidence this method is the most humane. Additionally, it appears incarcerated people think so, which is why so many in recent years chose—or petitioned for—death by firing squad rather than lethal injection or electrocution. As pharmaceutical companies halt their drugs’ distribution to prisons, prisons are forced to come up with their own—often more …


Jd And Me: Exploring Hybrid Representation Of Pro Se Defendants In Capital Murder Cases, Andrew Wick Nov 2023

Jd And Me: Exploring Hybrid Representation Of Pro Se Defendants In Capital Murder Cases, Andrew Wick

Et Cetera

The United States Constitution grants those facing the loss of life and liberty the right to due process and a fair trial under the law. What can be done to ensure criminal defendants facing the death penalty feel as though their desired argument and defense will be presented while still having the appearance of a fair trial? This Article compares a person the law says is qualified to waive counsel and represent themselves and a person qualified to be appointed to represent those facing the death penalty, what is required to waive counsel, the involvement of the trial court and …


Locked Away For Life: The Case Against Juvenile Life Without Parole For Felony Murder, Jennifer Gomez Oct 2023

Locked Away For Life: The Case Against Juvenile Life Without Parole For Felony Murder, Jennifer Gomez

Golden Gate University Law Review

This Comment argues that life without the possibility of parole is not an appropriate sentence for juveniles who commit felony murder because of the inherent characteristics of juveniles, such as their immaturity and inability to foresee consequences. At the age of seventeen, Riley Briones was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for his involvement in a robbery that resulted in a murder. Abused by his father throughout his childhood, Briones’ use of alcohol and drugs began early at the age of eleven. While he had aspired to attend college, Briones became a teen parent which required him to …


Children Are Different: Jones V. Mississippi, Juvenile Life Without Parole, And Why Youthfulness Matters In Sentencing, Giulia Hintz Mcquirter Oct 2023

Children Are Different: Jones V. Mississippi, Juvenile Life Without Parole, And Why Youthfulness Matters In Sentencing, Giulia Hintz Mcquirter

Mississippi College Law Review

“We are a country of mercy, and we are a country of vengeance, and we live with both at the same time.” This is how Robert Dunham, death penalty expert and Executive Director of the Death Penalty Information Center, describes the United States sentencing system. Battling inside each of us is the desire for people to pay for their wrongdoings, warring against the empathy of our human nature that wants to see the good in people, even criminals.

This internal conflict is rarely on better display than in cases involving child criminals. It is impossible to forget that these children …


Commentary: Shoop V. Twyford, Bridget Coyne, Vegas Kastberg Aug 2023

Commentary: Shoop V. Twyford, Bridget Coyne, Vegas Kastberg

The Reporter: Social Justice Law Center Magazine

No abstract provided.


Stories That Kill: Masculinity And Capital Prosecutors' Closing Arguments, Pamela A. Wilkins Jun 2023

Stories That Kill: Masculinity And Capital Prosecutors' Closing Arguments, Pamela A. Wilkins

Cleveland State Law Review

The American death penalty is a punishment by, for, and about men: Both historically and today, most capital prosecutors are men, most capital defendants are men, and killing itself is strongly coded male. Yet despite—or perhaps because of—the overwhelming maleness of the institution of capital punishment, the subject of masculinity is largely absent from legal discourse about the death penalty. This Article addresses that gap in the legal discourse by applying the insights of masculinities theory, an offshoot of feminist theory, to capital prosecutors’ closing arguments. This Article hypothesizes that capital prosecutors’ masculinity is strongly influenced both by white Southern …


Against Capital Punishment, Zac Bright, Ben Austin (Editor) Apr 2023

Against Capital Punishment, Zac Bright, Ben Austin (Editor)

Brigham Young University Prelaw Review

Capital punishment has a strong legal precedence in the United States. Capital punishment has been a penal option for those who commit conspicuously wrong acts. For such acts, the punishment seems to be proportional to the crime. In addition to the punishment’s adherence to proportionality, capital punishment mitigates problematic outcomes.

This paper advocates, however, that capital punishment should be classified as “cruel and unusual punishment.” Such violation of the eighth amendment delegitimizes capital punishment. Consequently, The Federal Death Penalty Act of 1994 should no longer be considered a valid law because of its constitutional violation.


Racial Bias And Death Penalty Cases: A Soar Analysis Of Post-Conviction, Ashley Mcilvaine Apr 2023

Racial Bias And Death Penalty Cases: A Soar Analysis Of Post-Conviction, Ashley Mcilvaine

Senior Capstone Papers

Racial discrimination is a far-reaching issue that adversely impacts individuals, groups, and communities across multiple domains. It is defined by the Equality and Human Rights Commission as being treated differently because of one’s race. For decades, discriminatory policies have been codified into institutional processes which disadvantage people of color. This is particularly evident in the criminal justice system. Examples of practices that disproportionately impact intentionally marginalized populations include issues of excess force and police brutality, sentencing disparities for minor offenses or drug charges, and state sanctioned capital punishment. While these forms of discrimination are often labeled as explicit and overt …


The Court And Capital Punishment On Different Paths: Abolition In Waiting, Carol S. Steiker, Jordan M. Steiker Apr 2023

The Court And Capital Punishment On Different Paths: Abolition In Waiting, Carol S. Steiker, Jordan M. Steiker

Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice

The American death penalty finds itself in an unusual position. On the ground, the practice is weaker than at any other time in our history. Eleven jurisdictions have abandoned the death penalty over the past fifteen years, almost doubling the number of states without the punishment (twenty-three). Executions have declined substantially, totaling twenty-five or fewer a year nationwide for the past six years, compared to an average of seventy-seven a year during the six-year span around the millennium (1997-2002). Most tellingly, death sentences have fallen off a cliff, with fewer the fifty death sentences a year nationwide over the past …


The Gross Injustices Of Capital Punishment: A Torturous Practice And Justice Thurgood Marshall’S Astute Appraisal Of The Death Penalty’S Cruelty, Discriminatory Use, And Unconstitutionality, John D. Bessler Apr 2023

The Gross Injustices Of Capital Punishment: A Torturous Practice And Justice Thurgood Marshall’S Astute Appraisal Of The Death Penalty’S Cruelty, Discriminatory Use, And Unconstitutionality, John D. Bessler

Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice

Through the centuries, capital punishment and torture have been used by monarchs, authoritarian regimes, and judicial systems around the world. Although torture is now expressly outlawed by international law, capital punishment—questioned by Quakers in the seventeenth century and by the Italian philosopher Cesare Beccaria and many others in the following century—has been authorized over time by various legislative bodies, including in the United States. It was Beccaria’s book, Dei delitti e delle pene (1764), translated into French and then into English as An Essay on Crimes and Punishments (1767), that fueled the still-ongoing international movement to outlaw the death penalty. …


Severe Mental Illness And The Death Penalty: A Menu Of Legislative Options, Richard J. Bonnie Apr 2023

Severe Mental Illness And The Death Penalty: A Menu Of Legislative Options, Richard J. Bonnie

Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice

In 2003, the American Bar Association established a Task Force on Mental Disability and the Death Penalty to further specify and implement the Supreme Court’s ruling banning execution of persons with intellectual disability and to consider an analogous ban against imposing the death penalty on defendants with severe mental disorders. The Task Force established formal links with the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the final report was approved by the ABA and the participating organizations in 2005 and 2006. This brief article focuses primarily on diminished responsibility at the time …


Does The Death Penalty Still Matter: Reflections Of A Death Row Lawyer, David I. Bruck Apr 2023

Does The Death Penalty Still Matter: Reflections Of A Death Row Lawyer, David I. Bruck

Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice

This talk was given by Professor David Bruck for the Frances Lewis Law Center at Washington and Lee University School of Law, April, 2002. It is a follow-up to “Does the Death Penalty Matter?,” given by Professor Bruck as the 1990 Ralph E. Shikes Lecture at Harvard Law School.


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 …


The Paradox Of Death Penalty Delay: A Judicial, Empirical, And Ethical Study, Zoë Gill Apr 2023

The Paradox Of Death Penalty Delay: A Judicial, Empirical, And Ethical Study, Zoë Gill

Senior Theses and Projects

The American death penalty has been at the center of political debates for decades. More specifically, the complexity of death penalty delay has gained significant attention from the public as well as the Supreme Court justices. Death penalty delay represents the time that transpires between when a capital crime is committed and when the execution is carried out. Today, more than half of all prisoners currently sentenced to death have been on death row for more than 18 years. This staggering statistic has ignited debate and divided the conservative justices from the liberal justices even more. This thesis will first …


Taking Corrigibility Seriously, Dora Klein Jan 2023

Taking Corrigibility Seriously, Dora Klein

Faculty Articles

This article argues that the Supreme Court's creation of a category of "irreparably corrupt" juveniles is not only an epistemological mistake but also a tactical mistake which has undermined the Court's express desire that only in the "rarest" of cases will juveniles be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.


Inducing Empathy In Jurors In A Capital Penalty Phase Trial: An Examination Of How To Reduce Jurors' Death Sentence Decisions, Klaudia Zuraw Dec 2022

Inducing Empathy In Jurors In A Capital Penalty Phase Trial: An Examination Of How To Reduce Jurors' Death Sentence Decisions, Klaudia Zuraw

Student Theses

The present research explores whether inducing empathy in death-qualified mock jurors leads to fewer death sentences in a penalty phase trial. Previous research has shown that inducing empathy in jurors leads to lesser sentences and perceived responsibility of the perpetrator for the crime. However, none of this research has examined death penalty cases, and most have focused on instances where the victim was also the perpetrator of a separate crime against the defendant (e.g., abuse). Extending this line of research, the present study examines whether these results extend to instances where the perpetrator and victim are strangers. Additionally, considering the …


The “Especially Heinous” Aggravator: Sharpshooter Bonuses Do Not Belong In Capital Sentencing Law, Taylor Lopa Nov 2022

The “Especially Heinous” Aggravator: Sharpshooter Bonuses Do Not Belong In Capital Sentencing Law, Taylor Lopa

St. John's Law Review

(Excerpt)

In capital cases, the jury is often left with the onerous decision about whether to impose the death penalty. To help jurors make sentencing decisions, judges will instruct them on how to apply the law. As one juror summarized, “[The judge told us] that we were to make our decision on the basis of his instructions and the law, not what we felt, not what we thought ought to be.” Because of jury instructions like this, jurors know that they must base sentencing decisions on the law rather than their personal beliefs. But what happens when the law itself …


Atkins V. Virginia At Twenty: Still Adaptive Deficits, Still In The Developmental Period, Sheri Lynn Johnson, John H. Blume, Brendan Van Winkle Oct 2022

Atkins V. Virginia At Twenty: Still Adaptive Deficits, Still In The Developmental Period, Sheri Lynn Johnson, John H. Blume, Brendan Van Winkle

Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice

Twenty years ago, in Atkins v. Virginia, the Supreme Court of the United States held that the Eighth Amendment prohibited states from executing persons with intellectual disability. While the Court’s decision is laudable and has saved many of the most vulnerable persons from the executioner, its effect has been undermined by recalcitrant states attempting to exploit language in the opinion permitting states to create procedures to implement the (then) new categorical prohibition. In this article, we examine how some states have adopted procedures which are fundamentally inconsistent with the clinical consensus understanding of the disability and how one state, …


Revisiting The Ox-Bow Incident: The Almost Forgotten Western Classic About The Lynching Of Three Innocent Men Is As Relevant As Ever, Marc Bookman Oct 2022

Revisiting The Ox-Bow Incident: The Almost Forgotten Western Classic About The Lynching Of Three Innocent Men Is As Relevant As Ever, Marc Bookman

Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice

The concept of lynching, several hundred years old and unclear in its origins, has never really left the lexicon. The word itself, however, has taken on different meanings over the years, from a mob’s taking the law into its own hands, to an organized utilization of racial violence as a means of societal control and intimidation; and finally to the more casual and defensive use of the word (“high tech lynching”) by current Supreme Court justices Thomas and Kavanaugh and others after being questioned about their past behaviors. Many academics have opined that the modern system of capital punishment is …


As Seen On Screen: American Ambivalence Shown Through Death Penalty And Vigilante Films, Lisette Donewald May 2022

As Seen On Screen: American Ambivalence Shown Through Death Penalty And Vigilante Films, Lisette Donewald

Honors Scholar Theses

The United States is one of the last western nations still practicing capital punishment. A history of and commitment to vigilantism and its ideals offers an explanation of America’s retention of capital punishment. Employing scholarship on law and popular culture and vigilantism, this thesis finds that pro-death penalty frames are prevalent in vigilante films while anti-death penalty frames are prevalent in films that focus specifically upon capital punishment. Since the 1960’s however, there has been a gradual shift towards anti-death penalty frames and away from pro-death penalty frames as well as changes in the themes presented in the two genres …


Against The Death Penalty, Charles Jessup Apr 2022

Against The Death Penalty, Charles Jessup

Student Research Submissions

My thesis is an argument against the death penalty. Given that public support for the death penalty in America is at a half-century low (according to the Pew Research Center), the timing could not be more appropriate to examine the death penalty. This research project had a two-step approach: first, ethical theory-based arguments for and against the death penalty were examined. Following that ethical theory-based examination, real-world statistics were applied to these theories to test where they stand in modern society. The findings contained in this research project point to a clear reality that the death penalty in America is …


"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. …


Florida's Removal Of Safeguards For Defendants On Death-Row: Comparative Proportionality Review, Loana Nardoni Jan 2022

Florida's Removal Of Safeguards For Defendants On Death-Row: Comparative Proportionality Review, Loana Nardoni

Florida State University Law Review

No abstract provided.


When Police Volunteer To Kill, Alexandra L. Klein Jan 2022

When Police Volunteer To Kill, Alexandra L. Klein

Scholarly Articles

The Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of lethal injection, yet states continue to struggle with drug shortages and botched executions. Some states have authorized alternative methods of execution, including the firing squad. Utah, which has consistently carried out firing squad executions throughout its history, relies on police officers from the jurisdiction where the crime took place to volunteer to carry out these executions. This represents a plausible--and probable--method for other states in conducting firing squad executions.

Public and academic discussion of the firing squad has centered on questions of pain and suffering. It has not engaged with the consequences …


"Only To Have A Say In The Way He Dies": Bodily Autonomy And Methods Of Execution, Alexandra L. Klein Jan 2022

"Only To Have A Say In The Way He Dies": Bodily Autonomy And Methods Of Execution, Alexandra L. Klein

Scholarly Articles

Capital punishment is one of the most significant intrusions into a person's bodily autonomy; the state takes a person's life. Even though the state has stripped a person on death row of much of their autonomy and intends to kill them, removing all autonomy, a person sentenced to death may, in some circumstances, choose how they will die. While most states rely on a single method of execution, some states permit a condemned person to choose among two or more methods of execution. Constitutional challenges to methods of execution requires the challenger to demonstrate a substantial risk of severe pain …


Can Delaying An Execution Due To Covid-19 Amount To Unconstitutional Discrimination?, Benjamin Joshua Ong Jan 2022

Can Delaying An Execution Due To Covid-19 Amount To Unconstitutional Discrimination?, Benjamin Joshua Ong

Research Collection Yong Pung How School Of Law

This note discusses the case of Syed Suhail bin Syed Zin v Attorney-General [2021] 1 SLR 809 (CA); [2021] 4 SLR 698 (HC) and its implications for equality law in Singapore.


Deterrence And The Death Penalty: A Study Of The Effects Of Capital Punishment On Homicide, Jacob Stump Jan 2022

Deterrence And The Death Penalty: A Study Of The Effects Of Capital Punishment On Homicide, Jacob Stump

Williams Honors College, Honors Research Projects

The death penalty receives an abundance of criticism within the United States, as critics argue it to be cruel and an unjust form of punishment. As the debate carries on and more states illegalize the death penalty, the largest point of contention centers on the question: to what extent does the death penalty deter homicides from occurring? This analysis is critical to the implementation of the death penalty, as many legal scholars cite its ability to deter to be its strongest argument for persisting. Ultimately, any argument that undermines this theory provides a greater incentive for abolition, as the death …


Getting To Death: Race And The Paths Of Capital Cases After Furman, Jeffrey A. Fagan, Garth Davies, Ray Paternoster Jan 2022

Getting To Death: Race And The Paths Of Capital Cases After Furman, Jeffrey A. Fagan, Garth Davies, Ray Paternoster

Faculty Scholarship

Decades of research on the administration of the death penalty have recognized the persistent arbitrariness in its implementation and the racial inequality in the selection of defendants and cases for capital punishment. This Article provides new insights into the combined effects of these two constitutional challenges. We show how these features of post-Furman capital punishment operate at each stage of adjudication, from charging death-eligible cases to plea negotiations to the selection of eligible cases for execution and ultimately to the execution itself, and how their effects combine to sustain the constitutional violations first identified 50 years ago in Furman …


Life Without Parole Is Replacing The Death Penalty -- But For Those Who Don’T Have The Possibility Of Parole, Their Future Is Bleak., Jessica Lerner Dec 2021

Life Without Parole Is Replacing The Death Penalty -- But For Those Who Don’T Have The Possibility Of Parole, Their Future Is Bleak., Jessica Lerner

Capstones

Across the country, life sentences are increasingly being used to replace the death penalty, according to a recent study by The Sentencing Project. Nearly 162,000 people are serving life sentences – one out of every nine in prison, the study found – and for those like Darrell Powell, who don’t have the possibility of parole, their future is bleak.

https://jlerner.exposure.co/life-without-parole-is-replacing-the-death-penalty?source=share-jlerner


Deadly 'Toxins': A National Empirical Study Of Racial Bias And Future Dangerousness Determinations, Justin D. Levinson, G. Ben Cohen, Koichi Hioki Dec 2021

Deadly 'Toxins': A National Empirical Study Of Racial Bias And Future Dangerousness Determinations, Justin D. Levinson, G. Ben Cohen, Koichi Hioki

Georgia Law Review

Since the beginning of the modern Death Penalty Era, one of the most important—and fraught—areas of capital punishment has been the so-called “future dangerousness” determination, a threshold inquiry that literally rests the defendant’s life or death on jurors’ predictions of the future. An overwhelming majority of capital executions have occurred in jurisdictions that embrace the perceived legitimacy of the future dangerousness inquiry, despite its obvious flaws and potential connection to the age-old racial disparities that continue to plague capital punishment. This Article presents, and empirically tests, the hypothesis that jurors’ future dangerousness assessments cannot be separated from their racial and …