Seminar - 2 hours. Course offers an overview of the constitutional law governing the death penalty in the United States with an emphasis on Eighth Amendment jurisprudence. After an initial look at the history of capital punishment, the course will consider the following topics: early challenges to the death penalty; different statutory attempts to enact constitutional death penalty schemes; execution of offenders who commit non-homicide crimes and who are felony murder accomplices, juveniles, the intellectually disabled, insane or possibly innocent; jury selection in capital cases; the effect of race on capital sentencing; the roles of the defendant, defense counsel, the prosecutor, and the trial judge; the procedural requisites and evidentiary limits for capital sentencing trials; penalty trial instructions and arguments; and international standards regarding capital punishment. Class attendance is mandatory; preparation for, and participation in class is expected. There will be two short quizzes and a final paper.
Death Penalty Seminar