Death Penalty - Herrera Vs Col


The Supreme Court addressed the constitutionality of executing someone who claimed actual innocence in Herrera v. Collins (506 U.S. 390 (1993)). Although the Court left open the possibility that the Constitution bars the execution of someone who conclusively demonstrates that he or she is actually innocent, the Court noted that such cases would be very rare. The Court held that, in the absence of other constitutional violations, new evidence of innocence is no reason for federal courts to order a new trial. The Court also held that an innocent inmate could seek to prevent his execution through the clemency process, which, historically, has been "the 'fail safe' in our justice system." ...

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exonerated and released from death row. Many of these cases were discovered not as the result of the justice system, but instead as the result of new scientific techniques, investigations by journalism students, and the work of volunteer attorneys. These resources are not available to the typical death row inmate.
Public Support
Support for the death penalty has fluctuated throughout the century. According to Gallup surveys, in 1936 61% of Americans favored the death penalty for persons convicted of murder. Support reached an all-time low of 42% in 1966. Throughout the 70s and 80s, the percentage of Americans in favor of the death penalty increased steadily, culminating in an 80% approval rating in 1994. Since 1994, support for the death penalty has again declined. Today, 66% of Americans support the death penalty in theory. However, public support for the death penalty drops to around 50 % when voters are offered the alternative of life without parole. (See also, DPIC's report, ...

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have, historically, not been subject to the death penalty at the same rates as men. From the first woman executed in the U.S., Jane Champion, who was hanged in James City, Virginia in 1632, to the 1998 executions of Karla Faye Tucker in Texas and Judi Buenoano in Florida, women have constituted only 3% of U.S. executions. In fact, only four women have been executed in the post-Gregg era. In addition to Karla Faye Tucker and Judi Buenoano, Velma Barfield was executed in North Carolina in 1984 and Betty Lou Beets was executed in Texas in February, 2000. (O'Shea, 1999, with updates by DPIC)


Recent Developments in Capital Punishment

The Federal Death Penalty

In addition to the death ...

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Added: 7/7/2008 06:41:01 PM
Category: Political Science
Words: 1341
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