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The Modern Death Penalty in America: Doctrine and Reality

This seminar will focus on capital punishment in theory and practice. As the course title suggests, Supreme Court authority, as well as State and Federal statutes will be considered in some depth. Crucial to that analysis, however, will be a reality based study of substantive death penalty law as it is applied to a defendant moving through the criminal justice system, from indictment for the capital crime through trial and sentencing. Among the topics we will look at: factors influencing the decision to seek the death penalty, pre-trial investigation, plea negotiations, trial procedures, sentencing mitigation and aggravation, the role of the prosecutor, defense attorney, judge, jury, and victims. Issues related to race, mental retardation, juveniles, arbitrariness, actual innocence, and reform will also be covered. Evaluation: Grading is based on class preparation and participation, and one paper. Required text: Cases and Materials on the Death Penalty by Nina Rivkin & Steven F. Shatz, 2d Edition Additional readings will be assigned from week to week. Practice areas: Criminal Law, Constitutional Law


Catalog Number: CRIM 656
Practice Areas: Constitutional LawCriminal Law Practice Area
Additional Course Information: 1 Draft degree req may be met with class


Course History

Spring 2012
Title: Seminar: Death Penalty
Section: 1     Type: Seminar     Credits: 2.0
Capacity: 25     Actual: 0