Capital Punishment

Class Unique: 28270
This small course 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 some of the conventional justifications for criminal punishment in the Western political/philosophical tradition (e.g., retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation) and how they relate to the death penalty as it has been employed in America. Readings will include, in addition to appellate court decisions, primary source materials (documents from actual capital cases) and articles from the popular media. 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 the standard letter-grade scale for all students. The course grade will be based on an in-class, closed-book written final examination, with some room for minor modification based on class participation.

Class Details

Meeting Days Time Location
Thursday 3:30 - 5:20 pm TNH 3.142
Evaluation Method Date Time Alpha Range Room
Final 5/14/09 8:30 am A-Z

Additional Information

Course Type


Owen, Robert C. Owen, Robert C.