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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 113639 Find in a Library
Title: Fallibility and Finality: Type II Errors and Capital Punishment (From Challenging Capital Punishment: Legal and Social Science Approaches, P 91-112, 1988, Kenneth C Haas and James A Inciardi, eds. -- See NCJ-113635)
Author(s): M L Radelet; H A Bedau
Date Published: 1988
Page Count: 22
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Sale Source: Sage Publications, Inc
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: After locating and documenting 20th-century cases involving 350 defendants who were either erroneously convicted of a capital crime or who were convicted of crimes that never occurred, this paper concludes that such erroneous decisions are not outweighed by any proven benefits of capital punishment.
Abstract: In 309 of the cases, the state implicitly or explicitly admitted error. In 6 cases, the researchers' belief in a defendant's innocence was based on the considered judgement of a state official in a position to know. In 15 cases, the researchers relied on the preponderance of informed opinion. Significant empirical evidence of benefits that can outweigh these costs of the deaths of innocent persons are not found, and the fallibility of the justice system is suggested. 38 references.
Main Term(s): Capital punishment
Index Term(s): Burden of proof; Jury decisionmaking
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