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Full-Text Articles in Law

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 …


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 …


"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. …


Blurred Lines: How To Rationally Understand The “Rational Understanding” Doctrine After Madison V. Alabama, Cassidy Young Mar 2021

Blurred Lines: How To Rationally Understand The “Rational Understanding” Doctrine After Madison V. Alabama, Cassidy Young

Pepperdine Law Review

In Madison v. Alabama, the Supreme Court held that a capital inmate’s inability to remember his crime did not render him incompetent to be executed. The Court reasoned that an individual who suffers from episodic memory loss may still “rationally understand” society’s reasons for sentencing him to death for a crime he once committed. This Note explores the impact of memory loss on a person’s self-identity, and consequently challenges the notion that a capital inmate who no longer remembers his crime can truly have a rational understanding of it. Specifically, this Note examines how memory loss substantially weakens the two …


When Mental Health Meets “The One-Armed Man” Defense: How Courts Should Deal With Mccoy Defendants, Farid Seyyedi Jan 2021

When Mental Health Meets “The One-Armed Man” Defense: How Courts Should Deal With Mccoy Defendants, Farid Seyyedi

St. Mary's Journal on Legal Malpractice & Ethics

The Supreme Court’s opinion in McCoy v. Louisiana held that a defendant has a constitutional right to insist their attorney not concede guilt as to any element of an offense, even if doing so is the only reasonable trial strategy to give the defendant a chance at life imprisonment instead of the death penalty. Under McCoy’s holding, a defendant can insist on maintaining their innocence—even in the face of overwhelming evidence—and force their attorney to pursue a defense that will land them on death row. The Supreme Court’s holding makes clear that a strategic concession of guilt at trial—over …


"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 …


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


Capital And Punishment: Resource Scarcity Increases Endorsement Of The Death Penalty, Keelah E. G. Williams, Ashley M. Votruba, Steven L. Neuberg, Michael J. Saks Jan 2019

Capital And Punishment: Resource Scarcity Increases Endorsement Of The Death Penalty, Keelah E. G. Williams, Ashley M. Votruba, Steven L. Neuberg, Michael J. Saks

Department of Psychology: Faculty Publications

Faced with punishing severe offenders, why do some prefer imprisonment whereas others impose death? Previous research exploring death penalty attitudes has primarily focused on individual and cultural factors. Adopting a functional perspective, we propose that environmental features may also shape our punishment strategies. Individuals are attuned to the availability of resources within their environments. Due to heightened concerns with the costliness of repeated offending, we hypothesize that individuals tend toward elimination-focused punishments during times of perceived scarcity. Using global and United States data sets (studies 1 and 2), we find that indicators of resource scarcity predict the presence of capital …


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 …


The Concept Of “Unusual Punishments” In Anglo-American Law: The Death Penalty As Arbitrary, Discriminatory, And Cruel And Unusual, John D. Bessler May 2018

The Concept Of “Unusual Punishments” In Anglo-American Law: The Death Penalty As Arbitrary, Discriminatory, And Cruel And Unusual, John D. Bessler

Northwestern Journal of Law & Social Policy

The Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, like the English Bill of Rights before it, safeguards against the infliction of “cruel and unusual punishments.” To better understand the meaning of that provision, this Article explores the concept of “unusual punishments” and its opposite, “usual punishments.” In particular, this Article traces the use of the “usual” and “unusual” punishments terminology in Anglo-American sources to shed new light on the Eighth Amendment’s Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause. The Article surveys historical references to “usual” and “unusual” punishments in early English and American texts, then analyzes the development of American constitutional law as …


Deterrence, David Crump Jan 2018

Deterrence, David Crump

St. Mary's Law Journal

Abstract forthcoming


Ideology, Race, And The Death Penalty: "Lies, Damn Lies, And Statistics" In Advocacy Research, Anthony Walsh, Virginia Hatch Jan 2017

Ideology, Race, And The Death Penalty: "Lies, Damn Lies, And Statistics" In Advocacy Research, Anthony Walsh, Virginia Hatch

Journal of Ideology

We use the literature on race in death penalty to illustrate the hold that ideology has on researchers and journalists alike when a social issue is charged with emotional content. We note particularly how statistical evidence become misinterpreted in ways that support a particular ideology, either because of innumeracy or because—subconsciously or otherwise—one’s ideology precludes a critical analysis. We note that because white defendants are now proportionately more likely to receive the death penalty and to be executed than black defendants that the argument has shifted from a defendant-based to a victim-based one. We examine studies based on identical data …


Moral Disengagement In Legal Judgments, Tess M. S. Neal, Robert J. Cramer Jan 2017

Moral Disengagement In Legal Judgments, Tess M. S. Neal, Robert J. Cramer

Community & Environmental Health Faculty Publications

We investigated the role of moral disengagement in a legally-relevant judgment in this theoretically-driven empirical analysis. Moral disengagement is a social-cognitive phenomenon through which people reason their way toward harming others, presenting a useful framework for investigating legal judgments that often result in harming individuals for the good of society. We tested the role of moral disengagement in forensic psychologists' willingness to conduct the most ethically questionable clinical task in the criminal justice system: competence for execution evaluations. Our hypothesis that moral disengagement would function as mediator of participants' existing attitudes and their judgmentsa theoretical bridge between attitudes and judgmentswas …


When Empathy Bites Back: Cautionary Tales From Neuroscience For Capital Sentencing, Sheri Lynn Johnson, Amelia Courtney Hritz, Caisa Elizabeth Royer, John H. Blume Nov 2016

When Empathy Bites Back: Cautionary Tales From Neuroscience For Capital Sentencing, Sheri Lynn Johnson, Amelia Courtney Hritz, Caisa Elizabeth Royer, John H. Blume

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

The neuroscience of empathy provides one more reason to believe that the decision to sentence another human being to death is inevitably an arbitrary one, and one that cannot be divorced from either race or caprice. While we can tinker with aspects of capital trials that exacerbate caprice and discrimination stemming from empathy, we cannot alter basic neural responses to the pain of others and therefore cannot rationalize (in either sense of the word) empathic responses.


The Death Penalty And Mental Illness In International Human Rights Law, Richard Wilson Jan 2016

The Death Penalty And Mental Illness In International Human Rights Law, Richard Wilson

Articles in Law Reviews & Other Academic Journals

Introduction: This symposium primarily focuses on the extraordinary legal and personal saga of one man, Joe Giarratano, his decades-long heroic struggle to overturn his death sentence and, ultimately, to obtain his release and exoneration. Prior to the conference, my only acquaintance with the Giarratano case was the decision in Murray v. Giarratanol-the U.S. Supreme Court decision holding that the Sixth Amendment right to appointed counsel does not extend to the post-conviction stages of death penalty litigation. The symposium provided a much broader perspective on the saga of Joe Giarratano, whose own legal skills parallel those of the many lawyers involved …


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 …


Empathy For Psychopaths: Using Fmri Brain Scans To Plea For Leniency In Death Penalty Cases, Kimberly D. Phillips Dec 2012

Empathy For Psychopaths: Using Fmri Brain Scans To Plea For Leniency In Death Penalty Cases, Kimberly D. Phillips

Kimberly D Phillips

Most of the public agrees that society is safer without psychopaths.
However, a new sentencing strategy for psychopaths facing the death
penalty has erupted from both mental health researchers and defense
lawyers-imploring juries to view a defendant's psychopathy as a
consideration of sentencing mitigation, and, consequently, urging juries to
impose life imprisonment instead of the death penalty.

This article explains the frightening nature of psychopaths, how
neuroscience and neuroimaging intersects with the study of psychopathy,
and, specifically, whether an fiMRI brain scan is appropriate mitigating
evidence in death penalty sentencing hearings when the convicted
defendant is a diagnosed psychopath.


The Legal Significance Of The Psychological Ability To Appreciate The “Other”, Paul F. Rothstein Nov 2012

The Legal Significance Of The Psychological Ability To Appreciate The “Other”, Paul F. Rothstein

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Recently the U.S. Supreme Court, citing neurological and psychological studies, held that because juveniles are deficient in appreciating consequences to others, they should never be given the death penalty. The author found, in his years as a legal scholar, educator, and practitioner, that “appreciating the ‘other’”--putting oneself in the position of others---is critical to law and the study of law in more than the obvious ways.

The author became aware of empirical studies and psychological experiments demonstrating that children below a certain age have trouble seeing things from another’s vantage point, and found that the facility to do so develops …


And Death Shall Have No Dominion: How To Achieve The Categorical Exemption Of Mentally Retarded Defendants From Execution, J. Amy Dillard Mar 2011

And Death Shall Have No Dominion: How To Achieve The Categorical Exemption Of Mentally Retarded Defendants From Execution, J. Amy Dillard

University of Richmond Law Review

No abstract provided.


Capital Punishment, Psychiatrists And The Potential Bottleneck Of Competence , Jacob M. Appel Jan 2011

Capital Punishment, Psychiatrists And The Potential Bottleneck Of Competence , Jacob M. Appel

Journal of Law and Health

The purpose of this paper is to merge two largely separate bodies of writing on the subject of psychiatric participation in capital punishment. Much has already been written from the perspective of legal academics regarding the rights of prisoners to be free from unwanted medical care if the purpose of providing such care is to render them fit for execution. Medical ethicists have also written much on the degree to which physicians, and specifically psychiatrists, may participate in facilitating the death penalty before they become so complicit as to violate accepted standards of professional ethics. Surprisingly, these two fields of …


Life, Death, And Iq: It's Much More Than Just A Score: Understanding And Utilizing Forensic Psychological And Neuropsychological Evaluations In Atkins Intellectual Disability/Mental Retardation Cases, John Matthew Fabian, William W. Thompson, Jeffrey B. Lazarus Jan 2011

Life, Death, And Iq: It's Much More Than Just A Score: Understanding And Utilizing Forensic Psychological And Neuropsychological Evaluations In Atkins Intellectual Disability/Mental Retardation Cases, John Matthew Fabian, William W. Thompson, Jeffrey B. Lazarus

Cleveland State Law Review

This article highlights best practices for assessing MR and ID in capital cases with an emphasis on Atkins trial preparation and potential problems the authors have noted through experience. These best practices in Atkins hearings concern issues for the lawyers, forensic psychologists, and neuropsychologists, which include:

1. Practice effects and IQ testing

2. Consistency of IQ scores over time

3. Flynn Effect

4. Malingering versus cognitive suboptimal effort

5. Lack of records indicating pre-age 18 diagnosis of MR/ID

6. Retrospective assessment of adaptive behaviors

7. Death row trends of increasing IQ over the years while incarcerated

8. Maladaptive behaviors versus …


Engaging Capital Emotions, Douglas A. Berman, Stephanos Bibas Jan 2008

Engaging Capital Emotions, Douglas A. Berman, Stephanos Bibas

All Faculty Scholarship

The Supreme Court, in Kennedy v. Louisiana, is about to decide whether the Eighth Amendment forbids capital punishment for child rape. Commentators are aghast, viewing this as a vengeful recrudescence of emotion clouding sober, rational criminal justice policy. To their minds, emotion is distracting. To ours, however, emotion is central to understand the death penalty. Descriptively, emotions help to explain many features of our death-penalty jurisprudence. Normatively, emotions are central to why we punish, and denying or squelching them risks prompting vigilantism and other unhealthy outlets for this normal human reaction. The emotional case for the death penalty for child …


The 'Abuse Excuse' In Capital Sentencing Trials: Is It Relevant To Responsibility, Punishment, Or Neither?, Paul J. Litton Jul 2005

The 'Abuse Excuse' In Capital Sentencing Trials: Is It Relevant To Responsibility, Punishment, Or Neither?, Paul J. Litton

Faculty Publications

The violent criminal who was a victim of severe childhood abuse frequently appears in the responsibility literature because he presents a difficulty for theorists who maintain the compatibility of causal determinism and our practices of holding persons responsible. The challenge is based on the fact that learning about an offender's horrific childhood mitigates the indignation that many persons feel towards him, possibly indicating that they hold him less than fully responsible. Many capital defendants present evidence of suffering childhood abuse, and many jurors find this evidence to count against imposing death. The most obvious explanation for a response like this …


Expert Testimony In Capital Sentencing: Juror Responses, John H. Montgomery, J. Richard Ciccone, Stephen P. Garvey, Theodore Eisenberg Jan 2005

Expert Testimony In Capital Sentencing: Juror Responses, John H. Montgomery, J. Richard Ciccone, Stephen P. Garvey, Theodore Eisenberg

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

The U.S. Supreme Court, in Furman v. Georgia (1972), held that the death penalty is constitutional only when applied on an individualized basis. The resultant changes in the laws in death penalty states fostered the involvement of psychiatric and psychologic expert witnesses at the sentencing phase of the trial, to testify on two major issues: (1) the mitigating factor of a defendant’s abnormal mental state and (2) the aggravating factor of a defendant’s potential for future violence. This study was an exploration of the responses of capital jurors to psychiatric/psychologic expert testimony during capital sentencing. The Capital Jury Project is …


Intelligence Testing And Atkins: Considerations For Appellate Courts And Appellate Lawyers, Lajuana Davis Oct 2003

Intelligence Testing And Atkins: Considerations For Appellate Courts And Appellate Lawyers, Lajuana Davis

The Journal of Appellate Practice and Process

No abstract provided.


Atkins V. Virginia: A Psychiatric Can Of Worms, Douglas Mossman Md Jan 2003

Atkins V. Virginia: A Psychiatric Can Of Worms, Douglas Mossman Md

Faculty Articles and Other Publications

This article provides a psychiatric perspective on the problems Atkins raises for courts that handle death penalty cases. In contrast to the overarching aim of the majority's opinion in Atkins - making the administration of capital punishment more equitable - the Supreme Court's latest prescription of psychiatric help may only add a new layer of complexity and confusion to the already capricious process through which the U.S. criminal justice system imposes death sentences. The article briefly review's the Supreme Court's 1989 Penry decision, focusing on the role that evidence of mental retardation played in death penalty cases before Atkins was …


Speeding In Reverse: An Anecdotal View Of Why Victim Impact Testimony Should Not Be Driving Capital Prosecutions, Sheri Johnson Jan 2003

Speeding In Reverse: An Anecdotal View Of Why Victim Impact Testimony Should Not Be Driving Capital Prosecutions, Sheri Johnson

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


A Healer Or An Executioner - The Proper Role Of A Psychiatrist In A Criminal Justice System, Gregory Dolin Jan 2003

A Healer Or An Executioner - The Proper Role Of A Psychiatrist In A Criminal Justice System, Gregory Dolin

Journal of Law and Health

This article argues that despite the benefits of ridding the criminal justice system of some uncertainty and ignorance with respect to mental health issues, the very close involvement of psychiatrists in the criminal justice system as practiced in the United States is not only illogical and bad policy, but also unethical from the viewpoint of medical ethics. Part II of this article will lay the groundwork for the argument by discussing the history of the insanity defense, and of science's involvement with criminal justice; while Part III, will look into the association of science and the administration of justice in …


Standards And Procedures For Determining Whether A Defendant Is Competent To Make The Ultimate Choice - Death; Ohio's New Precedent For Death Row Volunteers, Matthew T. Norman Jan 1998

Standards And Procedures For Determining Whether A Defendant Is Competent To Make The Ultimate Choice - Death; Ohio's New Precedent For Death Row Volunteers, Matthew T. Norman

Journal of Law and Health

Despite the fact that many states will allow a death row defendant to waive his legal appeals in order to hasten his execution date, there are inadequate standards and procedures for determining whether the "volunteer" is first competent to make this ultimate decision of life versus death. To provide background for this issue, this Note will discuss the events initially leading up to the nation's first death row "volunteer", then it will introduce subsequent volunteers of the present day. This Note then will look at what the United States Supreme Court has said about the standards and procedures that are …


Capital Jury And Absolution: The Intersection Of Trial Strategy Remorse And The Death Penalty, Scott E. Sundby Jan 1998

Capital Jury And Absolution: The Intersection Of Trial Strategy Remorse And The Death Penalty, Scott E. Sundby

Articles

No abstract provided.