Advanced Criminal Law: The Death Penalty

Course Information

Course Number
L6502
Curriculum Level
Upperclass
Areas of Study
Criminal Law and Procedure
Type
Lecture

Section 001 Information

Instructors

Section Description

This course analyzes the constitutional, statutory, procedural, and policy dimensions of capital punishment in the U.S. It introduces students to the historical, legal and sociological debates over the death penalty in the U.S. and to substantial portions of the constitutional doctrine the U.S. Supreme Court has created in the area since 1972. Included in this legal examination are the substantive and procedural law governing capital trials and the judicial (e.g. state appellate and federal habeas corpus) and executive procedures used to review capital verdicts. Questions considered are the success of the Supreme Court's recent effort to submit to law the decision whether or not to take life; the regulation of the methods that states may use to take the life of defendant; the capacity of law generally to achieve the competing goals of certainty and flexibility; the relevance of systemic outcomes (e.g., based on race, geography, or other patterns or a lack thereof) in identifying the actual social purposes and assessing the appropriateness of law and legal proceedings; and the uses and limits of litigation and other forms of legal activity as a mechanism for legal and social change. Grades are based on class participation, including a simulated, structured opportunity for death-penalty focused advocacy, and a take home exam. Students may have the option to submit a final paper in lieu of the exam.

School Year & Semester
Fall 2019
Location
JGH 304
Schedule
Class meets on
  • Monday
  • Wednesday
1:20 - 2:40 pm
Points
3
Method of Evaluation
Exam
J.D Writing Credit?
Minor (automatic)
Major (only upon consultation)

Learning Outcomes

Primary
  • Understand the origins and contemporary practice of capital punishment under state and federal law in the U.S.
  • At the end of the course, students will have acquired understanding of and/or facility in doctrinal analysis, including close reading of cases and precedents, and application to facts
  • At the end of the course, students will have acquired understanding of and/or facility in statutory and regulatory analysis, including close reading of statutes and regulations, and application to facts
  • At the end of the course, students will have acquired understanding of and/or facility in judicial, legislative and/or administrative processes
  • At the end of the course, students will have acquired understanding of and/or facility in jurisprudential considerations in legal analysis

Course Limitations

Instructor Pre-requisites
None
Instructor Co-Requisites
None
Recommended Courses
None
Other Limitations
None