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Understanding Capital Punishment Law, Third Edition (2012)

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This treatise is designed to provide an overview of the complex issues surrounding capital punishment. The primary emphasis of Understanding Capital Punishment Law is an explanation of the constitutional law that governs death penalty proceedings in the United States. Understanding Capital Punishment Law is structured in five parts:

Overview. These chapters include arguments for and against capital punishment, and an overview of the legal constructs for analysis of Eighth Amendment issues.
Trial Procedures. This group of chapters covers the constitutional issues that have shaped the process into a guilt phase and a penalty phase: aggravating circumstances, mitigating circumstances, and a decision on death or life. Topics include categorical bars to the death penalty, such as mental retardation; the function of aggravating evidence to narrow the group of death-eligible defendants; the presentation of aggravating evidence, such as victim-impact evidence; the function of mitigating evidence to provide for individualized consideration of the defendant; the presentation of mitigating evidence; and the decision process, including the distinction between weighing and non-weighing states and life without parole instructions.
Post-Trial Procedures. These chapters include direct appeal; habeas corpus, with an emphasis on ineffective assistance of counsel and innocence claims; clemency; and death row issues of insanity and the death row phenomenon.

Systemic Issues. Pervasive issues of race and gender discrimination are covered as well as the constitutional and practical problem of 'volunteers' for the death penalty. Additionally, there is a chapter that explains and describes international treaty issues in capital cases.

Future Issues. A final chapter looks at issues that are likely to arise in future death penalty cases, including the constitutionality of executing juveniles and the effect of terrorism on death penalty law.

Professors and adjunct professors may request complimentary examination copies of LexisNexis law school publications to consider for class adoption or recommendation. Please identify the book(s) you wish to receive, provide your institutional contact information, and submit your request here.

Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION TO CAPITAL PUNISHMENT LAW . . . 1 

CHAPTER 2:THE DEATH PENALTY DEBATE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7


CHAPTER 3: SOURCES OF LAW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17


CHAPTER 4: CHALLENGES TO THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE
DEATH PENALTY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21


CHAPTER 5: METHODS OF EXECUTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33


CHAPTER 6: MODERN DEATH PENALTY STATUTES . . . . . . . . . . . 43


CHAPTER 7:THE DEATH PENALTY TRIAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51


CHAPTER 8: CATEGORICAL BARS TO THE DEATH PENALTY . . . 63


CHAPTER 9: OVERVIEW OF AGGRAVATING EVIDENCE: THE
ELIGIBILITY FUNCTION AND THE SELECTION
FUNCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95


CHAPTER 10:>/b> AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCES: ELIGIBILITY OF
THE CASE FOR THE DEATH PENALTY . . . . . . . . . . . 103


CHAPTER 11: AGGRAVATING EVIDENCE AND THE SELECTION
DECISION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113


CHAPTER 12: SELECTION PROCESS: MITIGATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131


CHAPTER 13: SELECTION PROCESS: THE LIFE OR DEATH
DECISION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151

CHAPTER 14: DIRECT APPEALS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173


CHAPTER 15: POSTCONVICTION PROCEEDINGS: THE WRIT OF
HABEAS CORPUS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 187


CHAPTER 16: INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL . . . . . . . . 205


CHAPTER 17: INNOCENCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229


CHAPTER 18: CLEMENCY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 249


CHAPTER 19: DEATH ROW ISSUES: INSANITY AND DEATH ROW
PHENOMENON . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261


CHAPTER 20: RACE AND THE DEATH PENALTY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 279


CHAPTER 21:GENDER BIAS AND THE DEATH PENALTY . . . . . . . . 297


CHAPTER 22: VOLUNTEERS: DEFENDANTS WHO WANT TO DIE . 305


CHAPTER 23: INTERNATIONAL TREATY RIGHTS AND THE USE OF
FOREIGN LAW IN DEATH PENALTY CASES . . . . . . . 321


CHAPTER 24: THE FEDERAL DEATH PENALTY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 347


CHAPTER 25:FUTURE ISSUES IN CAPITAL PUNISHMENT LAW . . 361


Table of Cases………………………………….. TC-1

Index ……………………………………….I-1