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September 18, 2020

Working though modern death penalty statutes by imagining a capital defense of Theodore Kaczynski

AP9604040684As mentioned briefly in class, this coming week we are going to work through Problem 3-3 (at pp. 46-53 here) in order to more closely examine the operation of modern death penalty statutes.  This problem asks you to imagine how you might help represent Ted Kaczynski if he were to be prosecuted under applicable death penalty statutes in Texas and Florida and Ohio. 

Key provisions from the capital statutes in Texas and Florida appear in our online text, and here is a link to Ohio Revised Code Section 2929.04 with its own distinct specification of aggravating and mitigating circumstances.  (And if you are a glutton for capital punishment, you might also check out  18 United States Code Section 3592, the federal statute setting forth "Mitigating and Aggravating Factors to be Considered in Determining whether a Sentence of Death is Justified.")  I will not aggressively quiz anyone about and of these intricate doctrinal specifics, but the rest of our death penalty discussions will be enriched if you take time to analyze how Kaczynski's case might be litigated in prominent death penalty states. 

For a lot more information about "your client," here is a massive Wikipedia entry on Ted Kaczynski.  That entry has (too) many great links, and you might find the discussion of his crimes and the "Unabomber manifesto" especially important when considering his possible defense.  If you have the time and interest, I also would encourage checking out this lengthy 1999 Time article by Stephen Dubner headlined "I Don't Want To Live Long. I Would Rather Get The Death Penalty Than Spend The Rest Of My Life In Prison."  

Kaczynski is currently an LWOP resident at superman ADX Florence in Colorado after he accepted a plea to avoid the application of the death penalty.  This interesting 2016 Yahoo News article, headlined "The Unabomber takes on the Internet," highlights that Kaczynski can and does still write and corresponded from prison. 

Though his infamy has faded, Kaczynski was a particularly notorious celebrity in the mid 1990s.  And he was comically portrayed by Will Farrell on Saturday Night Live in the period.  For some diversionary (and somewhat tasteless) amusement, here are links to SNL skits about Teddy K.:

September 18, 2020 in Class activities, Death eligible offenses | Permalink


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