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Full-Text Articles in Law

Virtual Life Sentences: An Exploratory Study, Jessica S. Henry, Christopher Salvatore, Bai-Eyse Pugh Oct 2019

Virtual Life Sentences: An Exploratory Study, Jessica S. Henry, Christopher Salvatore, Bai-Eyse Pugh

Christopher Salvatore

Virtual life sentences are sentences with a term of years that exceed an individual’s natural life expectancy. This exploratory study is one of the first to collect data that establish the existence, prevalence, and scope of virtual life sentences in state prisons in the United States. Initial data reveal that more than 31,000 people in 26 states are serving virtual life sentences for violent and nonviolent offenses, and suggest racial disparities in the distribution of these sentences. This study also presents potential policy implications and suggestions for future research.


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


The Death Penalty As Incapacitation, Marah S. Mcleod Aug 2019

The Death Penalty As Incapacitation, Marah S. Mcleod

Marah McLeod

Courts and commentators give scant attention to the incapacitation rationale for capital punishment, focusing instead on retribution and deterrence. The idea that execution may be justified to prevent further violence by dangerous prisoners is often ignored in death penalty commentary. The view on the ground could not be more different. Hundreds of executions have been premised on the need to protect society from dangerous offenders. Two states require a finding of future dangerousness for any death sentence, and over a dozen others treat it as an aggravating factor that turns murder into a capital crime.

How can courts and commentators …


A Comparative Study On Death Penalty Statutes And Their Effects On Certain Minority Groups In Light Of Furman V. Georgia, Analise Nuxoll Jun 2019

A Comparative Study On Death Penalty Statutes And Their Effects On Certain Minority Groups In Light Of Furman V. Georgia, Analise Nuxoll

Journal of the National Association of Administrative Law Judiciary

Part One of this comment will address the recent history of the death penalty in the United States, focusing on Furman v. Georgia, which placed a four-year moratorium on the death penalty in 1972. Part Two examines which states still have death penalty statutes and the reasons for choosing the selected states for further analysis. Part Two also addresses the difference between facial and as-applied attacks on the state statutes and the reason for analyzing the statutes under as applied unconstitutionality. Part Three explains the thought behind choosing to examine the death penalty’s effect on racial minorities, low socio-economic classes, …


Individualized Sentencing, William W. Berry May 2019

Individualized Sentencing, William W. Berry

Washington and Lee Law Review

In Woodson v. North Carolina, the Supreme Court proscribed the use of mandatory death sentences. One year later, in Lockett v. Ohio, the Court expanded this principle to hold that defendants in capital cases were entitled to “individualized sentencing determinations.” The Court’s reasoning in both cases centered on the seriousness of the death penalty. Because the death penalty is “different” in its seriousness and irrevocability, the Court required the sentencing court, whether judge or jury, to assess the individualized characteristics of the offender and the offense before imposing a sentence. In 2012, the Court expanded this Eighth Amendment concept …


Discretionary Life Sentences For Juveniles: Resolving The Split Between The Virginia Supreme Court And The Fourth Circuit, Daniel M. Coble May 2019

Discretionary Life Sentences For Juveniles: Resolving The Split Between The Virginia Supreme Court And The Fourth Circuit, Daniel M. Coble

Washington and Lee Law Review Online

At the age of 17, Donte Lamar Jones shot and killed a store clerk as she laid down on the floor during a robbery. He was spared the death penalty by agreeing instead to die in prison at the end of his life. Two years later in Virginia, 12 individuals were murdered for doing nothing more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Those individuals were killed by Lee Malvo and John Muhammad, better known as the “D.C. Snipers.” While John Muhammad was given the death penalty for his heinous crimes, Lee Malvo, who was 17 during …


California’S Capital Crisis Continues: Voter-Initiated Time Limit On Capital Appellate Review Upheld Under Improper Directive Interpretation, Stephanie Nathaniel Apr 2019

California’S Capital Crisis Continues: Voter-Initiated Time Limit On Capital Appellate Review Upheld Under Improper Directive Interpretation, Stephanie Nathaniel

Golden Gate University Law Review

Part I begins with an overview of the separation of powers doctrine. Part II provides an overview of Proposition 66 and the California Supreme Court case that challenged its constitutionality. This section discusses Proposition 66’s statutory objective, the petitioners’ claim of unconstitutionality, the respondents’ claim about the initiative’s purpose, and the court’s separation of powers analysis. Part III discusses the state of California’s capital crisis by (1) examining the Briggs ruling’s effect on death-row inmates; (2) providing a brief background of California’s death-penalty system; and (3) evaluating the Briggs ruling in connection with the court’s duty to provide meaningful appellate …


Taking Psychological Torture Seriously: The Torturous Nature Of Credible Death Threats And The Collateral Consequences For Capital Punishment, John Bessler Jan 2019

Taking Psychological Torture Seriously: The Torturous Nature Of Credible Death Threats And The Collateral Consequences For Capital Punishment, John Bessler

All Faculty Scholarship

This article explores how the death penalty and the indefinite nature of death row in the United States creates a constant threat of death, which can violate the United Nations Convention Against Torture’s prohibitions on death threats.


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 …