September 27, 2016
Some links to SNL skits about Teddy K.
As promised, these are fun to check out:
September 26, 2016
Gameplans for finishng up our capital punishment discussions: making sure we are all on the same page(s)
Because I have not been a model of consistency and clarity concerning what students should be reading for class and concerning what I expect to cover, let me here try to make amends with a brief outline/overview of my class plans/expectations:
Tuesday, Sept 27: We will finish up a discussion of Furman/Gregg/Woodson/Roberts/Coker, which help explain/define modern DP relaties
Wednesday, Sept 28: We will consider how Florida, Texas and Ohio capital sentencing laws help guide jury death sentencing discretion for the Unibomber (and others)
For a lot more information about "your client," here is a massive Wikipedia entry on Ted Kaczynski. That entry has (too) many great links, though I would especially encourage checking out at least some of the Unibomber's (in)famous Manifesto, "INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY AND ITS FUTURE" as well as this lengthy Time article by Stephen J. Dubner from 1999 about Teddy K. headlined "I Don't Want To Live Long. I Would Rather Get The Death Penalty Than Spend The Rest Of My Life In Prison")
Monday, Oct 3: No class (extra time to work on mini- or maxi-papers)
Tuesday, Oct 4: We will discuss McClesky v. Kemp (paying extra special attention to the final few paragraphs of the majority opinion and then debating a possible Ohio Racial and Gender Justice Act)
Wednesday, Oct 5: Wrap up DP discussions and start transition to LWOP/non-capital sentencing challenges by identifying enduring lessons
September 14, 2016
The full McGautha...
can be found here. Reading just the majority opinion authored by Justice Harlan (which is only 1/4 of the whole thing) is encouraged, but not required, for having extra fun throughout next week's discussion. I also think everyone should at least get started reading Furman and Gregg and subsequent SCOTUS cases in chapter 3 of our text ASAP.
September 13, 2016
Death penalty deterrence research and arguments that the death penalty is morally required
As I mentioned in class, some years ago Professors Cass Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule produced a provocative article suggesting that new deterrence evidence might make the death penalty morally required for state actors seriously concerned with value of life. Here is a link to this article and its abstract, with one line stressed to pick up the theme developed in class that government killing is different-in-kind from other kinds of killing:
Cass R. Sunstein & Adrian Vermeule, Is Capital Punishment Morally Required? Acts, Omissions, and Life-Life Tradeoffs , 58 Stan. L. Rev. 703 (2005):
Many people believe that the death penalty should be abolished even if, as recent evidence seems to suggest, it has a significant deterrent effect. But if such an effect can be established, capital punishment requires a life-life tradeoff, and a serious commitment to the sanctity of human life may well compel, rather than forbid, that form of punishment. The familiar problems with capital punishment -- potential error, irreversibility, arbitrariness, and racial skew -- do not require abolition because the realm of homicide suffers from those same problems in even more acute form. Moral objections to the death penalty frequently depend on a sharp distinction between acts and omissions, but that distinction is misleading in this context because government is a special kind of moral agent. The widespread failure to appreciate the life-life tradeoffs potentially involved in capital punishment may depend in part on cognitive processes that fail to treat “statistical lives” with the seriousness that they deserve. The objection to the act/omission distinction, as applied to government, has implications for many questions in civil and criminal law.
Alternatively, if you like digging into social science research, the modern empirical debate over the death penalty should be informed by a collection of some data-crunching on the deterrent effect of capital punishment available via this page assembled by the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation. Notably, CJLF is supportive of the death penalty; the Death Penalty Information Center is opposed to the death penalty, and it has this webpage criticizing the studies appearing on the CJLF's page concerning deterrence.
September 12, 2016
Lots of interesting new buzz concerning the (sort of dormant) Ohio death penalty
Conveniently, my week away proved to be a period in which some interesting local death penalty news and commentary emerged, as evidence by these two recent posts from my main blog:
- Is Ohio again about to pioneer a new execution method?
These topics and lots of others will be a part of our coming extensive discussion of death penalty theory, policy and practice over the next few weeks.
September 7, 2016
A glimpse into the hows (and whos) of federal death sentencing in a high-profile case
This new BuzzFeed News article, headlined "Prosecutors Want To Limit Dylann Roof’s Use Of A “Mercy” Defense," provides an effective summary of this interesting motion filed by prosecutors in a high profile federal capital case. Especially because we will be jumping into the history, law and practice of capital punishment next week, I recommend everyone consider checking out the motion.