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January 27, 2020

Be ready to discuss Woodard as well as "ideal" clemency process

Though I hope you have had a chance to review the cases distributed last week -- Ohio Adult Parole Authority v. Woodard, 523 U.S. 272 (1998) and Ohio v. Boykin, 138 Ohio St. 3d 97 (2013) -- I expect that we will spend the bulk of out time in class discussing Woodard's rulings about what the Constitution demands (and does not demand) in the form of required process for those seeking clemency.  So be sure to take extra time to review the various opinion in Woodard, and think about whether a person alleging some extreme behavior by clemency authorities (e.g., a state official receiving a large campaign donation in order to vote against clemency) would make out a viable due process claim in light of Woodard.

In addition to considering the minimal clemency process that may be constitutionally required, in class I will also want to explore your views of an ideal clemency process.  In criminal trials, defendants have well-established rights to the assistance of legal counsel and to call witnesses (and contest the government's witnesses).  Even if these constitutional rights do not extend fully to the clemency process, should states provide for these processes in their clemency laws and procedures?  Should at least some persons seeking clemency (e.g., death row defendants) not only have a right to help from counsel, but also be able to get help from a lawyer paid for by the state?  Should the clemency process and any procedural rights afforded to an applicant vary based on his basis for seeking clemency (e.g., asserting innocence) or based on the underlying crime and relief being sought (e.g., a juvenile offender seeking just a commutation of a prison term)?

In addition to contemplating these sort of matters, please also remember to send me your top two presentation dates from these options.

January 27, 2020 in Class activities | Permalink


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