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Death penalty

Supreme Court of the United States

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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Twenty-First Century Death Penalty And Paths Forward, Jeffrey Omar Usman Apr 2024

The Twenty-First Century Death Penalty And Paths Forward, Jeffrey Omar Usman

Mississippi College Law Review

Today, states are moving closer to another moment of critical decision-making in charting the course of the death penalty in the United States. Unlike the sudden and dramatic immediacy of Furman, however, this moment is arriving through a slower and quieter progression, or perhaps more accurately a deceleration. While not abolished, in many states application of the death penalty is grinding or has ground to a halt. If the status quo holds, the vast majority of defendants who are sentenced to death by the states will instead live out their natural lives in prison for decades dying of old age …


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. …


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 …


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, …


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 …


Nine Ways Of Looking At Oklahoma City: An Essay On Sam Anderson’S Boom Town, Rodger D. Citron Jan 2021

Nine Ways Of Looking At Oklahoma City: An Essay On Sam Anderson’S Boom Town, Rodger D. Citron

Scholarly Works

No abstract provided.


Why Justice Kavanaugh Should Continue Justice Kennedy’S Death Penalty Legacy—Next Step: Expanding Juvenile Death Penalty Ban, Alli Katzen Apr 2020

Why Justice Kavanaugh Should Continue Justice Kennedy’S Death Penalty Legacy—Next Step: Expanding Juvenile Death Penalty Ban, Alli Katzen

University of Miami Law Review

As science and society both progress, Supreme Court rulings should reflect those changes. The national consensus has been gradually moving away from the use of the death penalty, particularly as applied to offenders between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five. Research clarifies that the brain is not fully developed in the areas most directly linked to culpability until after this age range. The combination of these factors should compel the Court to raise the minimum age for death sentences, but the shifting bench presents unpredictability


Urge To Reform Life Without Parole So Nonviolent Addict Offenders Never Serve Lifetime Behind Bars, Johanna Poremba Jan 2020

Urge To Reform Life Without Parole So Nonviolent Addict Offenders Never Serve Lifetime Behind Bars, Johanna Poremba

Touro Law Review

No abstract provided.


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


Death By Stereotype: Race, Ethnicity, And California’S Failure To Implement Furman’S Narrowing Requirement, Catherine M. Grosso, Jeffrey A. Fagan, Michael Laurence, David C. Baldus, George W. Woodworth, Richard Newell Jan 2019

Death By Stereotype: Race, Ethnicity, And California’S Failure To Implement Furman’S Narrowing Requirement, Catherine M. Grosso, Jeffrey A. Fagan, Michael Laurence, David C. Baldus, George W. Woodworth, Richard Newell

Faculty Scholarship

This Article examines the possible racial and ethnic implications of California’s expansive death penalty statute in light of the Eighth Amendment’s requirement that each state statute narrow the subclass of offenders on whom a death sentence may be imposed. The narrowing requirement derives from the holding in Furman v. Georgia over forty-five years ago, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that existing death penalty statutes violated the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments. Citing statistics demonstrating arbitrary and capricious application of capital punishment, a majority of the Justices concluded that a death sentencing scheme is unconstitutional if it …


Eight Justices Are Enough: A Proposal To Improve The United States Supreme Court, Eric J. Segall May 2018

Eight Justices Are Enough: A Proposal To Improve The United States Supreme Court, Eric J. Segall

Pepperdine Law Review

Over the last twenty-five years, some of the most significant Supreme Court decisions involving issues of national significance like abortion, affirmative action, and voting rights were five-to-four decisions. In February 2016, the death of Justice Antonin Scalia turned the nine-Justice court into an eight-Justice court, comprised of four liberal and four conservative Justices, for the first time in our nation’s history. This article proposes that an evenly divided court consisting of eight Justices is the ideal Supreme Court composition. Although the other two branches of government have evolved over the years, the Supreme Court has undergone virtually no significant changes. …


All Bathwater, No Baby: Expressive Theories Of Punishment And The Death Penalty, Susan A. Bandes Apr 2018

All Bathwater, No Baby: Expressive Theories Of Punishment And The Death Penalty, Susan A. Bandes

Michigan Law Review

A review of Carol S. Steiker and Jordan M. Steiker, Courting Death: The Supreme Court and Capital Punishment.


Deterrence, David Crump Jan 2018

Deterrence, David Crump

St. Mary's Law Journal

Abstract forthcoming


Equal Protection Under The Carceral State, Aya Gruber Jan 2018

Equal Protection Under The Carceral State, Aya Gruber

Publications

McCleskey v. Kemp, the case that upheld the death penalty despite undeniable evidence of its racially disparate impact, is indelibly marked by Justice William Brennan’s phrase, “a fear of too much justice.” The popular interpretation of this phrase is that the Supreme Court harbored what I call a “disparity-claim fear,” dreading a future docket of racial discrimination claims and erecting an impossibly high bar for proving an equal protection violation. A related interpretation is that the majority had a “color-consciousness fear” of remedying discrimination through race-remedial policies. In contrast to these conventional views, I argue that the primary anxiety …


Parsing Personal Predilections: A Fresh Look At The Supreme Court's Cruel And Unusual Death Penalty Jurisprudence, Susan M. Raeker-Jordan Nov 2017

Parsing Personal Predilections: A Fresh Look At The Supreme Court's Cruel And Unusual Death Penalty Jurisprudence, Susan M. Raeker-Jordan

Maine Law Review

The now well-known case of Atkins v. Virginia decided that the execution of those with mental retardation constituted cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment. The more recent case of Roper v. Simmons decided that execution of those who were under the age of eighteen when they committed their crimes also constituted cruel and unusual punishment. Both decisions changed the law that had existed since 1989, when the Court held in Penry v. Lynaugh and Stanford v. Kentucky that executions of members of both classes were not unconstitutional. Writing for the Court in Atkins v. Virginia, Justice Stevens was …


Brief Of The National Association Of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Et Al As Amici Curiae Supporting Petitioner, Mcwilliams V. Dunn (U.S. March 6, 2017) (No. 16-5294)., Janet Moore Mar 2017

Brief Of The National Association Of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Et Al As Amici Curiae Supporting Petitioner, Mcwilliams V. Dunn (U.S. March 6, 2017) (No. 16-5294)., Janet Moore

Faculty Articles and Other Publications

We submit this brief to make three important points. First, Ake itself clearly and unambiguously held as a matter of due process that indigent capital defendants must be provided with independent expert assistance upon a reasonable showing of need. The Court was unanimous on this point and swept aside aging precedent that had held provision of neutral assistance was adequate.

Second, Ake was hardly a revolutionary decision. As the Court noted, many states already provided expert assistance. In the first six years after Ake, numerous states explicitly held independent expert assistance must be provided upon an adequate showing of need. …


Brief Of The National Association For Public Defense, Et Al As Amici Curiae Supporting Petitioner, Christeson V. Roper (U.S. January 30, 2017) (No. 16-7730)., Janet Moore Jan 2017

Brief Of The National Association For Public Defense, Et Al As Amici Curiae Supporting Petitioner, Christeson V. Roper (U.S. January 30, 2017) (No. 16-7730)., Janet Moore

Faculty Articles and Other Publications

This case involves federal courts doubling down on the effective denial of counsel to a severely mentally impaired capital habeas petitioner on the eve of his execution, thereby preventing the full and fair litigation of an issue that demands this Court’s attention: the role played by a petitioner’s mental impairment in determining whether equitable tolling applies to the statute of limitations for filing a habeas petition. This Court should grant the petition to address whether the denial of adequate funding in this case constituted a constructive denial of the right to counsel required by the capital representation statute, 18 U.S.C. …


The Death Penalty And The Fifth Amendment, Joseph Blocher Dec 2016

The Death Penalty And The Fifth Amendment, Joseph Blocher

Northwestern University Law Review

Can the Supreme Court find unconstitutional something that the text of the Constitution “contemplates”? If the Bill of Rights mentions a punishment, does that make it a “permissible legislative choice” immune to independent constitutional challenges?

Recent developments have given new hope to those seeking constitutional abolition of the death penalty. But some supporters of the death penalty continue to argue, as they have since Furman v. Georgia, that the death penalty must be constitutional because the Fifth Amendment explicitly contemplates it. The appeal of this argument is obvious, but its strength is largely superficial, and is also mostly irrelevant to …


Eight Is [Not] Enough: A Review Of The 2015-2016 U.S. Supreme Court Term, Miller W. Shealy Jr. Oct 2016

Eight Is [Not] Enough: A Review Of The 2015-2016 U.S. Supreme Court Term, Miller W. Shealy Jr.

Miller W. Shealy Jr.

No abstract provided.


Justice Scalia’S Originalism And Formalism: The Rule Of Criminal Law As A Law Of Rules, Stephanos Bibas Aug 2016

Justice Scalia’S Originalism And Formalism: The Rule Of Criminal Law As A Law Of Rules, Stephanos Bibas

All Faculty Scholarship

Far too many reporters and pundits collapse law into politics, assuming that the left–right divide between Democratic and Republican appointees neatly explains politically liberal versus politically conservative outcomes at the Supreme Court. The late Justice Antonin Scalia defied such caricatures. His consistent judicial philosophy made him the leading exponent of originalism, textualism, and formalism in American law, and over the course of his three decades on the Court, he changed the terms of judicial debate. Now, as a result, supporters and critics alike start with the plain meaning of the statutory or constitutional text rather than loose appeals to legislative …


The Firing Squad As "A Known And Available Alternative Method Of Execution" Post-Glossip, Deborah W. Denno Jan 2016

The Firing Squad As "A Known And Available Alternative Method Of Execution" Post-Glossip, Deborah W. Denno

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This Article does not address the medical debate surrounding the role of midazolam in executions; the problems associated with using the drug have been persuasively argued elsewhere. Nor does it question the soundness of the Glossip Court’s “alternative method of execution” requirement. Rather, this Article’s proposed reform is a constitutionally acceptable alternative that meets the Glossip Court’s standard, rendering moot—at least for the purposes of the following discussion—very real concerns regarding the validity of that dictate. Part I of this Article pinpoints several areas where the Glossip Court goes wrong in glaringly inaccurate or misleading ways, given the vast history …


"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 …


The Eighth Amendment’S Lost Jurors: Death Qualification And Evolving Standards Of Decency, Aliza Plener Cover Jan 2016

The Eighth Amendment’S Lost Jurors: Death Qualification And Evolving Standards Of Decency, Aliza Plener Cover

Indiana Law Journal

The Supreme Court’s inquiry into the constitutionality of the death penalty has over-looked a critical “objective indicator” of society’s “evolving standards of decency”: the rate at which citizens are excluded from capital jury service under Witherspoon v. Illinois due to their conscientious objections to the death penalty. While the Supreme Court considers the prevalence of death verdicts as a gauge of the nation’s moral climate, it has ignored how the process of death qualification shapes those verdicts. This blind spot biases the Court’s estimation of community norms and dis-torts its Eighth Amendment analysis.

This Article presents a quantitative study of …


Death Penalty; Cruel And Unusual Punishment; Individualized Sentencing Determination; Lockett V. Ohio; Bell V. Ohio, James C. Ellerhorst Jul 2015

Death Penalty; Cruel And Unusual Punishment; Individualized Sentencing Determination; Lockett V. Ohio; Bell V. Ohio, James C. Ellerhorst

Akron Law Review

“In Bell v. Ohio and Lockett v. Ohio the United States Supreme Court found the sentencing provisions of the Ohio capital punishment statute to be incompatible with the eighth and fourteenth amendments which prohibit cruel and unusual punishment. These two opinions represent the most recent attempt by the Supreme Court to explain what elements must be included in a constitutionally valid capital punishment statute.”


Newsroom: Nason '05 Cited By U.S. Supreme Court, Roger Williams University School Of Law Jun 2015

Newsroom: Nason '05 Cited By U.S. Supreme Court, Roger Williams University School Of Law

Life of the Law School (1993- )

No abstract provided.


Two Wrongs Don't Make A Right: Federal Death Eligibility Determinations And Judicial Trifurcations, Michael D. Pepson, John N. Sharifi Jun 2015

Two Wrongs Don't Make A Right: Federal Death Eligibility Determinations And Judicial Trifurcations, Michael D. Pepson, John N. Sharifi

Akron Law Review

Broadly speaking, the purpose of this article is to bring attention to this radical and irreconcilable disparity between the unequivocal Sixth Amendment right of confrontation criminal defendants are afforded at trial,and the limited, qualified right of confrontation the FDPA grants federal capital defendants during death-eligibility determinations, which occur as part of the sentencing phase. It advances the argument that there is no tenable principled distinction on which this disparate procedural treatment may rest. We will attempt to demonstrate that, as written, the statutory provision that governs the admission of evidence at capital sentencings—18 U.S.C. § 3593(c)—is unconstitutional on its face …


Six Overrulings, Andrew Koppelman Apr 2015

Six Overrulings, Andrew Koppelman

Michigan Law Review

John Paul Stevens, who retired in 2010 at the age of ninety after more than thirty-four years on the Supreme Court, has capped his astoundingly distinguished career by becoming an important public intellectual. He reviews books, gives high-profile interviews, wrote a memoir of the chief justices he has known, and has now written a second book. Six Amendments revisits half a dozen old, lost battles. Stevens appeals over the heads of his colleagues to a higher authority: the public. Now that he is off the Court, Stevens explains why six decisions in which he dissented should be overruled by constitutional …


The True Legacy Of Atkins And Roper: The Unreliability Principle, Mentally Ill Defendants, And The Death Penalty's Unraveling, Scott E. Sundby Jan 2014

The True Legacy Of Atkins And Roper: The Unreliability Principle, Mentally Ill Defendants, And The Death Penalty's Unraveling, Scott E. Sundby

Articles

No abstract provided.


The Loss Of Constitutional Faith: Mccleskey V. Kemp And The Dark Side Of Procedure, Scott E. Sundby Jan 2012

The Loss Of Constitutional Faith: Mccleskey V. Kemp And The Dark Side Of Procedure, Scott E. Sundby

Articles

No abstract provided.