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Death Penalty of U.S. Supreme Court

This peer reviewed journal is of a case in the United States Supreme Court, the issue in the case sought to prove that adequate help is given to murder convicts where no adequate proof is availed to court on their professional incapacitation while on the trial penalty phase. The Supreme Court that conviction to death of mentally challenged persons had earlier ruled it as a punishment is not only harsh but also unfair. The judge strategically decided in this case that no death conviction evidence would be presented for that phase. The Supreme court determined that the court of appeals was within its mandates of judicial review. The outcomes of the considerations are availed and judgment made by the Supreme Court.

Adkins, B. (2008). Constitutional Law--The Death Penalty--Death Penalty Violates Eighth Amendment When Used As Punishment For The Rape Of A Child When Death Does Not Result. Cumberland Law Review, 39(3), 785-799.

This journal reviews a case in court where the Supreme Court is appealing against punishment for death conviction that in their view is against the United States 8th amendment. The Court considers Louisiana's imposition of death penalty on a case of child rape unconstitutional since the death results are unknown and thus the penalty is not equal to the crime. The court is determined to institute capital penalty for rape of a child.


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Alarcón, A. (2011). Executing the Will of the Voters?: A Roadmap to Mend or End The California Legislature's Multi-Billion-Dollar Death Penalty Debacle. Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, 44(3), 41-224.

An approximate four billion dollars have been spent on the death penalty system in California. This system has been funded with the taxpayer’s money since the penalty was restored. It is amazing how many cases are still to be resolved. There is a backlog of cases which will take decades before they are settled. Before this happens, some will even face demise and cease to live before their cases are settled. Legislative measures in California have not been fully implemented so as to curb the increasing deterioration of delayed justice. The costs that are incurred in the quest to have death penalty trials exceed well over billions of dollars that could in turn be used for something else. Administering the death penalty is a very long process and thus will require huge sums of California’s taxpayer’s money to settle. Specifically, the voter initiative process has contributed heavily to this. This has been caused by their influence into misleading voters to accept and embrace this system which has over the time displayed incompetence and inefficiency in administering timely justice to all.

Research has indeed shown that the crimes attracting the death penalty between the year 1978 and 2000 are incomplete according to the legislative analyst’s office. The electorate in California have used the voter initiative process to enact laws that are very strict. Implementation of these laws becomes very difficult since the funding is not adequate and not well utilised. Taxpayer’s money is misused as a result of the due process. The legislature should instead take corrective measures that will minimize to great extent the backlog of cases. Civic education should be conducted to the electorate to ensure that they are aware of the problems facing this critical sector. To stop the misuse and waste of billions of dollars on the defunct death penalty system, it is imperative that meaningful reforms are proposed and immediately implemented. This will ensure that the system runs in a fair and transparent manner. This recommendation will also face challenges since the electorate will not take it lightly since they have to be taxed more for these reforms to be enforced. This is the only way in which reforms will be objective since the alternative will be to completely erase the death penalty and instead substitute it with life imprisonment. This life sentence should not attract parole in any case.

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Cohen, G., & Smith, R. J. (2010). The Racial Geography of The Federal Death Penalty. Washington Law Review, 85(3), 425-492.

Concentration has been focused on the number of black defendants on the death row in comparison with their white counterparts. The racial disparities have not yet been resolved to date. The racial constitution of the jury has also been subject to review. The capacity to form an impartial jury should be put in place putting into considerations the unique effects that death penalty poses. Democratic values should be given priority so as to ensure that the historical conceptions of the country are maintained. A process like that of the Batson should also be crafted so as to eliminate the effects that race factor brings. In many cases it has lead to determining whether a case goes federal or not.

Connor, E. (n.d). The Undermining Influence of the Federal Death Penalty on Capital Policymaking And Criminal Justice Administration In The States. Journal Of Criminal Law & Criminology, 100(1), 149-211.

In accordance with the constitution, in states where the death penalty is not legal, the federal death penalty is normally used to attain death sentences for the defendants. The state prosecutors’ result to sentences that are less than death. However, this practice has hampered the progress of administration of the death penalty. It is unfortunate that for some states, they can set their own criminal justice policies and administer them in their own jurisdictions independently. This is against the constitution which stipulates all states policies should work together harmoniously.

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The sixth amendment and the constitutional doctrines of equal protection give limitations when it comes to the death penalty. This is in situations where dual jurisdiction exists. This clearly shows the institutional characteristics which act as an obstacle on the capacity of the congress to set criminal justice policies. Due to harsh economic times, most states have reviewed their use of capital punishment. The federal government on the other hand is not sensitive to the costs incurred and therefore the probability of engaging in discussions regarding capital punishment is nil.

Gershowitz, A. M. (2010). Statewide Capital Punishment: The Case for Eliminating Counties' Role in the Death Penalty. Vanderbilt Law Review, 63(2), 305-359.

In most states that officially approve capital punishment, the prosecutors are liable for handling those capital trials. The prosecutors also have a responsibility to seek the death penalty if necessary. This has however been deemed as inefficient and arbitrary by many quarters. The death penalty is very expensive to administer since it is a long and complicated process. It also requires large budgetary allocations and very experienced prosecutors. Due to these factors, one will realize that those states with less budget and constrained knowledge will have difficulties to prosecute these heinous crimes. This will ultimately result to geographic arbitress in some of these states with such challenges.

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Institutional knowledge is vital since these cases can be reversed at any given time if not handled with expertise and effectiveness. Issues such as prosecutorial misconduct could be cited to dismiss a heinous crime. When such cases are relit gated, they only add more expenses since it takes years to review them once again. The death penalty system has proven to be ineffective especially at the county level. It has thus been proposed that the process of death penalty be done away with at this level. It has been proposed that it be carried out in the states level where there is elite group of professionals and lawyers. Capital cases should be left to the elite only.

Knowles, H. (n.d). A dialogue on death penalty dignity. Criminology & Criminal Justice, 11(2), 115-128.

Dignity is one of the most imperative aspects that have come up in the quest to overcome challenges in the capital punishment cases. Members of the US Supreme Court have cited it as the most important concept in the capital cases. Dignity has been categorized and Georgia (1972) was of the opinion that capital punishment will not harmoniously and constitutionally coexist with regard for innate human dignity. Simmons (2005) was on the other hand of the opinion that human dignity would not in any way inflict harm on the regulated death penalty.

M.C.A. De Ungria et al(2008). Forensic DNA evidence and the death penalty in the Philippines. Forensic Science International: Genetics, 2329-332. doi:10.1016/j.fsigen.2008.04.004

The death penalty has elicited different and reactions all over the world. It has been abolished in some countries like Canada and European Union member nations. This is just a few of among the many countries that have done away with this kind of penalty. It has been necessitated by the fact that it is irrevocable and there is no chance to correct this in case of an error. In most cases for example that in Philippines’, most death penalty convictions resulted from testimonial evidence. In this country however, post conviction evidence such as DNA is not allowed. Overturning death penalty convictions thus becomes difficult since DNA is very compelling.

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Berry, W. (2010). Ending Death by Dangerousness: A Path to the De Facto Abolition of the Death Penalty. Arizona Law Review, 52(4), 889-924.

The number of death sentences has decreased in the past decades. This has been due to factors such as the new and efficient methods employed to declare victims innocent as DNA. Another factor is due to the fact that this mode has been phased out and instead a convict will earn a life sentence without the possibility of a parole. What has greatly determined the sentence to be handed over to the victim according to abolitionists is how that individual is perceived as posing future dangerousness to the society.

Falco, D., & Freiburger, T. (2011). Public Opinion and the Death Penalty: A Qualitative Approach. Nova Southeastern University, 16(3), 830-847.

The main reason why the death sentence cannot fade away is the fact that the public has come out in great numbers to support it. This was specifically in the US criminal justice system. Focus groups formed to investigate this elicited a barrage of complex opinions. The people do not care much concerning the costs, race or wrongful convictions. A lot of people in the United States are in support of the death sentence and thus it would be difficult to eliminate it irrespective of its negatives.

Jiang, S. Et al. (2010). Death penalty views in China, Japan and the U.S.: An empirical comparison. In Journal of Criminal Justice, 38(5), 862-869.

Though many nations still impose the death penalty, it is surprising how most works and literature has been focused on United States of America. Most people in this country have supported the idea of a death sentence. They were of the opinion that capital punishment held a high deterrence value. There were mixed reactions however concerning retribution whereby the electorate felt that innocent people might be condemned to death. The issue of barbarity in executions was a major reason why some countries like china and Japan opposed the death penalty.

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Li, X., & Yang, X. (2009). On the Marx's death penalty thought: Inspirations to China death penalty reform. Journal Of China Lawyer & Jurist, 5(4), 17-20.

The paper reflects on the problem of death penalty in China considering China is a communist state. China is popular with the death penalty punishment yet Karl Marx the developer of communism was against it. According to Marx, death penalty in a modern society is cruel, inhuman, outdated, unfair and violates human rights and so he suggested to completely do away with the death penalty in a modern society. This would immensely lead to reforms of Chinese death penalty.

Peffley, M., & Hurwitz, J. (2007). Persuasion and Resistance: Race and the Death Penalty in America. American Journal of Political Science, 51(4), 996-1012.

Though much has been written on the views of blacks and whites on their views on death penalty, little is known on their responses to different debates on the penalty and the nature of their variances. An experiment in a National Survey to determine the variances was conducted where different views conditions were randomly given to respondents. African Americans were found to respond more to both racial and non-racial arguments. They feel that majority executes are blacks and that innocent people are falling victims to execution. It also resulted that the system of criminal justice is biased in that the people's degree of attribution of the black criminality caused to not just forces of the system but also disposition.

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Roberts-Cady, S. (2010). Against Retributive Justifications of the Death Penalty. Journal of Social Philosophy, 41(2), 185-193.

Retributive justice theories are insufficient to determine the moral acceptability of death penalty as a punitive measure. Death penalty is not justifiable by just determining the view that convicted ought to be punished commensurate with their crimes. It would thus be logical to be of the view that some punishments, though deserved should not be inflicted. It would be advisable for one to study issues of ethics more widely than just matching punishment with crime.

Stiles, H. (2011). Constitutional Law--Habeas Corpus--Mitigation Instructions at Penalty Phase of Death Penalty Case Not Unconstitutional, Defendant Not Prejudiced By Inadequate Closing Argument At Penalty Phase. Smith v. Spisak, 130 S. Ct. 676 (2010). Cumberland Law Review, 42(2), 393-410.

This is an analysis of the United State's Supreme Court case Warden Smith v. Frank G. Spisak which addressed two claims on mitigation instruction and ineffective-assistance-of-counsel. The court demanded that the defendant proves the counsel better performance possibility and ruled that there was no entitlement for the defendant to a review of the federal habeas . The paper attempts to review the case and the effects of the case on the death penalty in the United States.

Wang, Y. (2009). The Evolution of the Death Penalty in America -- The Significance of Striking Down the Juvenile Death Penalty in Roper v. Simmons. EurAmerica, 39(4), 571-614.

This paper will discuss significant difference of the United States with other sovereign states in executing death penalty. The world in the past half of the 20th century have witnessed western European countries abandoning sentencing suspected convicts the death penalty for all crimes. Ironically, on the other hand, the United States reinforced the death penalty in an effort to control violent crimes. The 21st century left the United States was left out by two thirds of the countries who had abolished executing individuals for various crimes. In fact, the situation is further complicated by the fact that it remained the only country across the Globe which still advocated for juvenile execution in big numbers. Fortunately in 2005, under pressure from the rest of the world, the Supreme Court ruled against the death penalty in Roper v Simmons. It ruled out that sending young people below the age of 18 years was ‘bizarre and heartless punishment’ and thus forbidden by the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. This paper will evaluate the definition of juvenile in relation to common law, the theory of special; treatment to juvenile delinquents and how the U.S government handles such cases. The paper will also examine the legal debate and facts of Roper. It will also evaluate the importance and relevance of the death penalty in the United States jurisdiction.

Wu, Y., Sun, I., & Wu, Z. (n.d). Support for the death penalty: Chinese and American college students compared. Punishment & Society-International Journal Of Penology, 13(3), 354-376.

A number of studies have been conducted to evaluate how Americans perceive the death penalty but negligible attention has been given to determine how Chinese perceive the death penalty in then country and then compare similarities and differences from both perspectives. Different attitudes were observed from data collected from university students from both countries, this study will use the data obtained to draw factors which contribute to the students attitudes as far as the death penalty is concerned. The results reveal that on average, Chinese students advocate capital punishment when compared to Americans. Some of these factors which influence the attitudes in both countries were identified as gender, victimization and criminal justice systems within their countries. The difference in their respective countries was also noted. For instance, Chinese fear that their country might be controlled by criminals if capital punishment is abolished. The significance of these policies and future studies will be analyzed in this paper.

Sangiorgio, C. (2011). The death penalty and public information on its use. International Review Of Law, Computers & Technology, 25(1/2), 33-41. doi:10.1080/13600869.2011.594653

This journal states that by the start of 2011, over 139 nations had changed their laws or the way they practiced and made an abolition of the death sentence. According to Amnesty International, only 23 nations carried out the penalty across the globe. Most of the cases involving the death sentence have been carried out in violation of human rights. This paper focuses on the nations that have carried out the death penalty and the international human right laws they are breaking.

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Sun, W. (2009). Abolishing the death penalty:the logical necessity of the irrationality of the death penalty. Social Sciences In China, 30(2), 166-177. doi:10.1080/02529200902903917

Even though the death sentence maybe considered elsewhere in the world as being irrational as well as inhumane, the government in China feel it is important based on the level of their civilization. This has been used as a justification of having the death sentence in the constitution. The political class are the people who determine the sentence in China and they do with an intent of silencing dissident. The constitution making is held hostage by political views and wishes.

Lambert, E., Camp, S., Clarke, A., & Jiang, S. (2011). The Impact of Information on Death Penalty Support, Revisited. SAGE Publications, 57(4), 572-599.

In this journal, it discusses a situation where the Supreme Court judge argued that it is important that the American public be educated more on the death penalty and its effects. The paper argued that if people were well educated on the subject and they had enough information on the subject, they would change their minds and be against it. A test is conducted on the paper that records the opinion of the people before they had information on the subject and after. The paper uses multivariate analyses to justify this. The paper also argued that information that involved innocence and deterrence being provided on the people led to in most cases to people changing opinions on the subject.



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