Law Reviews

Items: 51 — 60

Jul 09, 2012

STUDIES: Racial Bias Among Jurors in Death Penalty Cases

A recent arti­cle in the Michigan State Law Review exam­ined the prob­lem of racial bias in cap­i­tal cas­es, par­tic­u­lar­ly with respect to jurors’ deci­sion mak­ing. Authors Mona Lynch and Craig Haney (pic­tured), both pro­fes­sors at the University of California, sum­ma­rize past sta­tis­ti­cal stud­ies on race and the death penal­ty and present new exper­i­men­tal research on juror deci­sion-mak­ing in a sim­u­lat­ed cap­i­tal tri­al. Research par­tic­i­pants were shown one of four sim­u­lat­ed tri­al video­tapes. The videos were iden­ti­cal except for the race of the defen­dant and the race of the vic­tim. Participants…

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May 15, 2012

INNOCENCE: New Evidence That Texas May Have Executed an Innocent Man

In one of the most com­pre­hen­sive inves­ti­ga­tions ever under­tak­en about the exe­cu­tion of a pos­si­bly inno­cent defen­dant, Professor James Liebman and oth­er researchers at Columbia University Law School have pub­lished a ground­break­ing report on the case of Carlos DeLuna (pic­tured), who was exe­cut­ed in Texas in 1989. This Anatomy of a Wrongful Execution” is being pub­lished today (May 15) in Columbia’s Human Rights Law Review. Prof. Liebman con­clud­ed DeLuna was inno­cent and was wrong­ly con­vict­ed on the thinnest of evi­dence: a sin­gle, night­time, cross-eth­nic eye­wit­ness iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and no cor­rob­o­rat­ing forensics.”…

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May 04, 2012

HISTORY: Gruesome Spectacles: The Cultural Reception of Botched Executions in America”

Recently pub­lished his­tor­i­cal research led by Professor Austin Sarat (pic­tured) of Amherst College exam­ines the way grue­some exe­cu­tions were report­ed in the media in the late 19th and ear­ly 20th cen­turies. Prof. Sarat’s study found that news­pa­pers gen­er­al­ly pre­sent­ed two com­pet­ing nar­ra­tives in their cov­er­age: a sen­sa­tion­al­ist nar­ra­tive, which played up the grue­some­ness of botched execution[s], and an oppos­ing, recu­per­a­tive nar­ra­tive, which sought to dif­fer­en­ti­ate [the] law’s vio­lence from vio­lence out­side the law.” (Article abstract) Gruesome exe­cu­tions were put into a larg­er con­text of an order­ly and jus­ti­fied pun­ishm­net: They…

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Feb 20, 2012

STUDIES: Military Death Sentence More Likely for Defendants of Color

A recent study pub­lished in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology about the U.S. Military death penal­ty sys­tem found that racial dis­par­i­ties among those sen­tenced to death are worse in the mil­i­tary than in oth­er crim­i­nal courts. The study, con­duct­ed by Catherine Grosso of Michigan State’s College of Law, the late David Baldus of the University of Iowa College of Law, and oth­ers, reviewed all poten­tial­ly death-eli­gi­ble mil­i­tary pros­e­cu­tions from 1984 to 2005 and iden­ti­fied 105 death-eli­gi­ble mur­der cas­es. The study found that defen­dants of col­or in the military…

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Nov 10, 2011

LAW REVIEWS: Executing Those Who Do Not Kill”

A new arti­cle to be pub­lished in the American Criminal Law Review explores the con­sti­tu­tion­al­i­ty of the death penal­ty for those con­vict­ed of felony mur­der, i.e., those who par­tic­i­pat­ed in a seri­ous crime in which a death occurred, but were not direct­ly respon­si­ble for the death. The arti­cle is by Joseph Trigilio and Tracy Casadio, both Deputy Federal Public Defenders in California and is titled Executing Those Who Do Not Kill.” The authors argue that the U.S. Supreme Courts deci­sion in Tison v. Arizona (1987) should be over­turned. Tison allows…

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Feb 08, 2011

STUDIES: Misunderstandings by Jurors Undermines Constitutionality of Death Penalty

A new study by William Bowers and oth­ers pub­lished in the Criminal Law Bulletin revealed that most jurors in death penal­ty cas­es lack suf­fi­cient under­stand­ing of their duties, ren­der­ing the process uncon­sti­tu­tion­al by Supreme Court stan­dards. The study showed that cap­i­tal jurors often mis­tak­en­ly believe that a death sen­tence is required by law, and fail to take pri­ma­ry respon­si­bil­i­ty for the defen­dan­t’s pun­ish­ment. The study sug­gest­ed that jurors tend to believe death should be the pun­ish­ment for heinous crimes and that death is need­ed as a deter­rent and required by…

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Dec 23, 2010

NEW RESOURCES: Symposium in Vermont on Capital Punishment

On February 11, 2011, a sym­po­sium will be held at the Vermont Law School in South Royalton to explore cur­rent issues in cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment. Entitled New Perspectives on Capital Punishment, the sym­po­sium will address the death penal­ty from the point of view of schol­ars, lit­i­ga­tors, and edu­ca­tors. The goal of the sym­po­sium is to con­tribute to the vital dis­course con­cern­ing cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment and its human rights impli­ca­tions. It will fea­ture Hugo Adam Bedau, a promi­nent death penal­ty schol­ar. Other speak­ers include nation­al­ly rec­og­nized death penal­ty lit­i­ga­tors Mark Olive and Sean…

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Mar 16, 2010

LAW REVIEWS: Challenging the Constitutionality of the Federal Death Penalty

A recent arti­cle in the Akron Law Review asks whether the Federal Death Penalty Act (FDPA) is in com­pli­ance with the Sixth Amendments right to con­front wit­ness­es because it allows hearsay evi­dence in deter­min­ing whether a defen­dant is eli­gi­ble for the death penal­ty. During a typ­i­cal crim­i­nal tri­al, the accused has the right to chal­lenge and cross exam­ine the tes­ti­mo­ny of state wit­ness­es who must appear in per­son. But in a death penal­ty case, the FDPA allows state­ments of wit­ness­es not present in the court­room to be used to determine…

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Mar 09, 2010

LAW REVIEWS: Condemned Defendants Should Comprehend Death

A recent arti­cle by Prof. Jeffrey Kirchmeier of the City University of New York School of Law enti­tled, The Undiscovered Country: Execution Competency & Comprehending Death” explores whether men­tal­ly dis­abled inmates who do not under­stand that exe­cu­tion means the end of their phys­i­cal life should be spared. Kirchmeier exam­ines Supreme Court prece­dent under the Eighth Amendment that requires that a con­demned defen­dant be com­pe­tent in order to be exe­cut­ed. The arti­cle argues that the peno­log­i­cal goals of the death penal­ty could not be ful­filled unless the con­demned per­son com­pre­hends what…

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Nov 27, 2009

STUDIES: A Review of the Florida Death Penalty

Christopher Slobogin, Professor of Law and Psychiatry at Vanderbilt University, has writ­ten an eval­u­a­tion of Floridas death penal­ty to be pub­lished in a forth­com­ing edi­tion of the Elon University Law Review. The eval­u­a­tion is based on a study by an assess­ment team spon­sored by the American Bar Association. Florida is one of the lead­ing states in sen­tenc­ing peo­ple to death, but it also has the most death row exon­er­a­tions of any state in the coun­try. Florida was cho­sen by the ABA to be one of eight death penal­ty states reviewed…

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