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NCJ Number: 185480 Find in a Library
Title: Death Matters: A Reply to Professors Latzer and Cauthen
Journal: Judicature  Volume:84  Issue:2  Dated:September-October 2000  Pages:72-99
Author(s): James S. Liebman; Jeffrey Fagan; Valerie West
Date Published: 2000
Page Count: 7
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article considers varying opinions regarding the capital justice system.
Abstract: The article takes issue with several claims in an earlier article on capital punishment: (1) Because reliability is more important in capital punishment cases, more protections are needed, so there are more ways capital verdicts can go seriously wrong, so there is less need to worry about the process. Response: The frequency with which capital verdicts fail is a reason to be concerned, not sanguine. (2) The law governing ineffective counsel is more hospitable to claims aimed at the penalty phase of capital trials. Response: The earlier writers offer no evidence for this claim and it is demonstrably false. (3) Overturning a capital sentencing trial, as opposed to the guilt trial, is a relatively low-cost reversal. Response: It gives appellate courts a compromise outcome not available in non-capital cases and decreases the amount of "conviction" relief. (4) High error rates in death cases are the result of capital defendants' greater opportunity to appeal and to more intense review. Response: The review process is the same in non-capital cases and capital prisoners may file more appeals because there is more error affecting their verdicts, not the reverse. Notes
Main Term(s): Courts
Index Term(s): Capital punishment; Convictions; Judicial process; Jurisprudence; Jury decisionmaking; Sentence review; Sentencing reform; Sentencing statistics; Sentencing/Sanctions
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