« Big Blakely rulings from the ends of the Union | Main | Two of note on Booker from the 11th Circuit »

June 30, 2005

The impact of SCOTUS's heightened scrutiny in capital cases

I have been kvetching a lot, most recently in posts here and here, about the Supreme Court's expenditure of so much time and energy on death penalty cases when there is so much post-Blakely and post-Booker work to be done.  Nevertheless, spurred by this interesting and insightful commentary by Andrew Cohen about criminal cases in the Term just ended, I should note that the Supreme Court's work in the capital arena seems to be having an impact on the administration of capital punishment. 

Cohen's commentary effectively spotlights "that there's a majority on the court no longer willing to wait for lower courts or state legislators or Congress to ensure more fairness and accuracy in capital cases in particular."  And Cohen reasonably links the Court's recent capital work to modern concerns about innocent persons getting sentencing to death:

These decisions are some of the practical consequences of the concerns Justice Sandra Day O'Connor raised in a speech four years ago when she said: "If statistics are any indication, the system may well be allowing some innocent defendants to be executed.... Serious questions are being raised about whether the death penalty is being fairly administered in this country."

Perhaps even more interesting than these observations are the stories to be found inside the numbers.  As detailed in this post and others linked therein, there are many numerical indicators of recent declines in the use of the death penalty in the United States.  Though the work of SCOTUS surely does not account for all these declines, the Court's heightened scrutiny in capital cases likely does account in part for why so many executions have recently been stayed and also surely in part explains why we are on pace for the fewest execution this year since 1996.

June 30, 2005 at 12:54 PM | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451574769e200d83423abdf53ef

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The impact of SCOTUS's heightened scrutiny in capital cases:

» Blog Round-up - Friday, July 1st. from SCOTUSblog
FindLaw has John Dean interviewing Dana Berliner, plaintiff's co-counsel in Kelo v. New London. Yesterday, Paul Sracic, Associate Professor of Political Science at Youngstown State University, wrote this article for USA Today on Justice Rehnquist and w... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 1, 2005 10:04:09 AM

» Soma muscle relaxant. from Soma sen arizona.
Soma next day. Soma cube. Chevelle soma. Soma without rx. Cheap soma. Soma to florida. Soma. Soma san diego. [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 17, 2009 3:04:43 AM

» Bouncy boobs. from Asian boobs.
Lanas big boobs. Big boobs. Boobs. Big boobs alert. [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 23, 2009 2:02:36 AM

Comments

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB