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Full-Text Articles in Law

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 …


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 …


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, …


"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 2020

“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

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

First, we discuss the background of the development of counsel adequacy in death penalty cases. Next, we look carefully at Strickland, and the subsequent Supreme Court cases that appear—on the surface—to bolster it in this context. We then consider multiple jurisprudential filters that we believe must be taken seriously if this area of the law is to be given any authentic meaning. Next, we will examine and interpret the data that we have developed. Finally, we will look at this entire area of law through the filter of therapeutic jurisprudence, and then explain why and how the charade of “adequacy …


Texas, The Death Penalty, And Intellectual Disability, Megan Green Oct 2019

Texas, The Death Penalty, And Intellectual Disability, Megan Green

St. Mary's Law Journal

Abstract forthcoming


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 …


An Empirical Assessment Of Georgia's Beyond A Reasonable Doubt Standard To Determine Intellectual Disability In Capital Cases, Lauren Sudeall Apr 2017

An Empirical Assessment Of Georgia's Beyond A Reasonable Doubt Standard To Determine Intellectual Disability In Capital Cases, Lauren Sudeall

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

In Atkins v. Virginia, the Supreme Court held that execution of people with intellectual disabilities violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. In doing so, the Court explicitly left to the states the question of which procedures would be used to identify such defendants as exempt from the death penalty. More than a decade before Atkins, Georgia was the first state to bar execution of people with intellectual disability. Yet, of the states that continue to impose the death penalty as a punishment for capital murder, Georgia is the only state that requires capital defendants to prove …


"Outsmarting" Death By Putting Capital Punishment On Life Support: The Need For Uniform State Evaulations Of The Intellectually Disabled In The Wake Of Hall V. Florida, Taylor B. Dougherty Jan 2016

"Outsmarting" Death By Putting Capital Punishment On Life Support: The Need For Uniform State Evaulations Of The Intellectually Disabled In The Wake Of Hall V. Florida, Taylor B. Dougherty

Brooklyn Law Review

While the Supreme Court has yet to hold capital punishment per se unconstitutional, the Court has exempted certain groups of individuals from being eligible for capital punishment, due to concerns about the protection against cruel and unusual punishment provided for in the 8th Amendment. One such group is individuals who are intellectually disabled (the term which replaced the long-used mental retardation). But in exempting such individuals from capital punishment in its decision in Atkins v. Virginia, the Court left it to the states to establish metrics for determining which defendants are in fact intellectually disabled so as to warrant …


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 Death Penalty And The Mentally Ill: A Selected And Annotated Bibliography, Jean Mattimoe Jan 2012

The Death Penalty And The Mentally Ill: A Selected And Annotated Bibliography, Jean Mattimoe

Articles

The United States Supreme Court over the last decade has selectively whittled away at the scope and availability of the death penalty by exempting certain groups from execution under the Eighth Amendment. In 2002 the court ruled that executing mentally retarded criminals violates the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. In 2005 the court ruled that the Constitution forbids the execution of individuals who were under the age of 18 when they committed their crimes. Currently there is an active debate on whether to extend the categorical exemptions created by the Court to the mentally ill. At the forefront …


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.