Capital Punishment

This small course taught in seminar style will examine a variety of legal, moral, and cultural issues related to the American system of capital punishment. The legal issues will include the development of the law governing capital punishment in the United States since 1970 (including the basic structure of Eighth Amendment capital sentencing doctrine, the process of appellate and post-conviction review, the assistance of counsel in capital cases, and the persistent influence of racial discrimination). We will also consider the four conventional justifications for criminal punishment in the Western political/philosophical tradition (retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation) and how they relate to the death penalty as it has been employed in America. We will explore these moral and cultural questions through depictions of the death penalty in works of fiction, philosophical essays, films, and primary source materials (documents from actual capital cases). The course will have a maximum of 25 students, 10-12 of whom will participate in the Capital Punishment Clinic. The course will be graded on a letter-grade basis for all students. The grade will be based on a final exam and class participation

Class Details

Meeting Days Time Location
Tuesday 3:30 - 5:20 pm TNH 3.126
Evaluation Method Date Time Alpha Range Room
Final 5/12/08 8:30 am A-Z

Additional Information

Course Type


Owen, Robert C. Owen, Robert C.