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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 201487 Find in a Library
Title: Comparison of the Clemency Procedures in the Four Census Bureau Regions and Their Affects on Commutations in Capital Cases
Journal: Corrections Compendium  Volume:28  Issue:7  Dated:July 2003  Pages:1-4,24,26
Author(s): Porsche VanBrocklin
Date Published: July 2003
Page Count: 7
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined the five different types of clemency granting authorities and questions whether regional differences in clemency procedures influence the number of commutations granted in capital cases.
Abstract: A historical overview of executive clemency is provided and the three forms of clemency (pardons, reprieves, and commutations) are discussed. Next, the research literature about clemency granting procedures and outcomes is reviewed. Few researchers have examined how clemency procedures affect the number of commutations granted in capital cases. As such, little is known about the manner in which clemency is granted and whether there are regional differences in their distribution. The author examined statistical data from the quarterly report titled Death Row U.S.A. Spring 2002, by the Criminal Justice Project of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund Inc. The report lists executions by State and offers a summary of State lists of inmates on death row. Data regarding clemency granting authority was gathered from the Facts About Clemency, by the Death Penalty Information Center. Additional information was gathered about the number of executions since 1976 and State populations. Results discuss State procedures for granting executive clemency and show that each State has slightly different limitations and stipulations placed on its clemency granting authority. Results also suggest that the death penalty is applied twice as often in the Southern and Western regions than it is in the Northeastern and Midwestern regions. No discernable clemency procedure pattern by region was discovered. Executive clemency in both capital and non-capital cases is rarely exercised. Public opinion, or politics, determines whether clemency is granted, rather than the facts of cases.
Main Term(s): Capital punishment; Executive clemency
Index Term(s): State government; State-by-state analyses
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