Matching Items (11)

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Exploring Disparities in Women, Gender, and the Death Penalty

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This paper explores the issues regarding disparities in sentencing of men and women to death. Research conducted includes both primary and secondary. A variety of sources were used to gain insight into societal gender differences and stereotypes. Theories were investigated

This paper explores the issues regarding disparities in sentencing of men and women to death. Research conducted includes both primary and secondary. A variety of sources were used to gain insight into societal gender differences and stereotypes. Theories were investigated for causes in gender discrepancies. Specific standards and factors were found to be relevant for men and others for women. The methods used to implement the death penalty, the constitutionality of the death penalty, and other various death penalty issues were studied to see if they had implications for the minimal number of women sentenced to death. Research indicated that the media had a significant influence in these cases, particularly in the cases where a female committed brutal murder. This paper examines these different elements, using Arizona as a test case, with four separate female case examples in order to determine what causes disparities in sentencing men and women to death. The case facts and analysis are given in each example. The conclusion is that the discrepancies found in sentencing men and women to death are ultimately based on cultural gender stereotypes that have been in place for some time, and are often exploited in the media.

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2014-12

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The International Lethal Injection Drug Boycott and Its Effects on the Death Penalty in the United States

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In the last seven years the practice of capital punishment in the United States has been shaken by one of the most unlikely suspects- the prescription drug market. The practice of capital punishment has gone from fervent support to abolishment

In the last seven years the practice of capital punishment in the United States has been shaken by one of the most unlikely suspects- the prescription drug market. The practice of capital punishment has gone from fervent support to abolishment and back again throughout the nation's history. Over time the process of capital punishment has evolved from public hangings to a secretive medical procedure. The American people have become detached from the act because it is no longer right in front of their face, but often occurs in a small prison room with a viewing window for a select group of witnesses. The modern method of capital punishment is lethal injection- a three-drug protocol that is accepted as the most humane means of executing criminals. The protocol has faced criticism and legal challenges for years. This is in part because the United States stands alone as one of the last westernized democratic nations to regularly execute convicted criminals. European activist groups and government agencies have been fighting for abolishment in the United States for years with little progress. Recently, the activist groups discovered a novel way to make an impact on the capital punishment system in the United States that had not been attempted. The groups appealed to the drug manufacturing companies in Europe and exposed their supply chains to the public. When it was revealed that the drugs these companies produced were ending up in U.S. prisons for executions the companies eventually stopped all sales of execution drugs to U.S. corrections facilities. This led to the European Union banning all exports of drugs for lethal use in 2011. This study will analyze the effects of the lethal injection drug boycott on the death penalty in the United States. Since the ban, death penalty states have been scrambling in order to procure enough drugs to carry out their future executions. They have attempted to obtain the drugs illegally, trade between each other, reinstate older methods of execution, and entirely change their three-drug protocol to incorporate new drugs or less drugs. Executions have dropped both in the number of death sentences handed down and the number of executions. Also, polls analyzing acceptance of the death penalty have shown decreasing support for the practice domestically. Although there are other factors that may have contributed to the decline of capital punishment in the United States, it seems as though the international lethal injection boycott has made the most progress in the shortest amount of time and has the potential to drastically change the future of the death penalty in the United States.

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Date Created
2016-05

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The Application of the Death Penalty in Arizona

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In 1972, the United States Supreme Court found that the death penalty was being applied too arbitrarily in the United States and that this arbitrary application constituted cruel and unusual punishment under the eighth amendment (Furman V. Georgia, 1972). This

In 1972, the United States Supreme Court found that the death penalty was being applied too arbitrarily in the United States and that this arbitrary application constituted cruel and unusual punishment under the eighth amendment (Furman V. Georgia, 1972). This lead to a moratorium on capital punishment until the case Gregg V. Georgia, which outlined guidelines for the states in applying the death penalty in order to ensure that its application was constitutional (Gregg V. Georgia, 1976). These guidelines included enumerated aggravating factors and a bifurcated capital trial (Gregg V. Georgia, 1976). Despite these findings from the Supreme Court, the application of the death penalty in Arizona has remained problematic. In practice, Arizona has adopted a death penalty statute that appears to conform to the standards set by Furman and Gregg. Arizona state law includes a list of aggravating factors to help guide juries in capital trials and these trials are bifurcated. However, Arizona's aggravating factors are both numerous and inclusive, to the point that it is challenging to commit a first-degree murder in Arizona that does not include an aggravating factor. The statute fails to limit the crimes that qualify for the death penalty so state budgetary concerns become the limiting factor. Arizona's application of the death penalty remains arbitrary, in consistent, and as a result, unconstitutional as defined by the United States Supreme Court.

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Date Created
2015-05

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Capital sentencing in Maricopa County: like getting struck by lightning?

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For the death penalty to be justified, it must be reserved for the worst of the worst. In his 2011 study of Connecticut's death penalty system, however, John Donohue found that arbitrariness and discrimination are defining features. Donohue's finding that

For the death penalty to be justified, it must be reserved for the worst of the worst. In his 2011 study of Connecticut's death penalty system, however, John Donohue found that arbitrariness and discrimination are defining features. Donohue's finding that non-white defendants whose victims were white are six times more likely to receive the death penalty indicates that race is more a predictor of a death sentence than the egregiousness of the crime. An analysis of capital sentencing outcomes in Maricopa County, Arizona reveals that the race of the victim is not related to the likelihood of receiving a death sentence, but the race of the defendant is. Use of Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), logistic regression, and an egregiousness calculation are employed to analyze capital sentencing trial outcomes in Maricopa County from 2009 through 2011. This triangulated approach is applied to test three theoretically-derived models - the Donohue model, the Illinois Commission model, and the Functional model. The findings indicate that during the given time period in Maricopa County, the race of the defendant was statistically significant in cases with low to mid-levels of egregiousness, but was no longer significant in the most egregious cases. The results also reveal that the most egregious cases, typically indicated by the presence of a prior conviction and multiple victims, are nearly five times more likely to result in an outcome of death. While the results of this study are suggestive only, because of the small sample size and the relatively brief duration of time studied, the conclusions presented aim to provoke further inquiry into states' death penalty systems to address Donohue's allegation of unconstitutional application nationwide. Through a drastic reduction of death-eligibility factors, implementation of a transparent plea bargaining protocol in which the presence of certain aggravating factors preempts the possibility of a plea, and equal funding for prosecutor and defense offices, the death penalty in this country could begin to target the worst of the worst.

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Date Created
2012

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Choosing the Lesser of Two Evils: A Framework for Considering the Ethics of Competence for Execution Evaluations

Description

Prisoners sentenced to death must be competent for execution before they can actually be executed (Ford v. Wainwright, 1986). The decision for many mental health professionals whether to conduct competence for execution evaluations may be fraught with complex ethical issues.

Prisoners sentenced to death must be competent for execution before they can actually be executed (Ford v. Wainwright, 1986). The decision for many mental health professionals whether to conduct competence for execution evaluations may be fraught with complex ethical issues. Mental health professionals who do not personally support capital punishment may have a particularly difficult decision to make in this regard but should seriously consider the consequences of their decisions. This article applies Bush, Connell, and Denney’s (2006) eight-step ethical decision-making model to the ethicality of deciding to or abstaining from conducting competence for execution evaluations. This article does not propose what decisions an individual evaluator should make regarding this work, but rather presents a systematic guide for mental health professionals (particularly those who do not support capital punishment) to consider.

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Date Created
2010

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Mitigation Evaluations: A Survey of Current Practices

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This study examined the scope and components of mitigation assessments in a first effort to develop some guidelines for conducting mitigation evaluations. Using the Mitigation Evaluations Survey (MES) we developed for this research, we surveyed 266 psychologists about the characteristics

This study examined the scope and components of mitigation assessments in a first effort to develop some guidelines for conducting mitigation evaluations. Using the Mitigation Evaluations Survey (MES) we developed for this research, we surveyed 266 psychologists about the characteristics and content of mitigation evaluations. A high percentage of participants endorsed each of the 14 content areas presented in the MES as essential or recommended for inclusion in mitigation evaluations. However, when the participants were given a hypothetical open-ended referral question regarding a mitigation evaluation, fewer participants included all 14 content areas in their responses. This discrepancy as well as information regarding the qualifications and expertise of the participants is discussed.

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Created

Date Created
2011

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A Reasoned Argument Against Banning Psychologists’ Involvement in Death Penalty Cases

Description

Prompted by the involvement of psychologists in torturous interrogations at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, the American Psychological Association (APA) revised its Ethics Code Standard 1.02 to prohibit psychologists from engaging in activities that would “justify or defend violating human rights.”

Prompted by the involvement of psychologists in torturous interrogations at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, the American Psychological Association (APA) revised its Ethics Code Standard 1.02 to prohibit psychologists from engaging in activities that would “justify or defend violating human rights.” The revision to Standard 1.02 followed APA policy statements condemning torture and prohibiting psychologists’ involvement in such activities that constitute a violation of human rights (APA, 2010). Cogent questions have subsequently been raised about the involvement of psychologists in other activities that could arguably lead to human rights violations, even if the activity in question is legal. While this language was designed to be expansive in defining psychologists’ ethical responsibilities, it remains difficult to determine whether and how Standard 1.02 might apply to a particular situation.

In the present analysis, we focus on the question of whether psychologists should be involved in death penalty cases. We assert that the APA should not take an ethical stand against psychologists’ participation in death penalty cases. Our position is not intended necessarily to reflect approval or disapproval of the death penalty although we recognize that there are serious flaws in the American legal system with regard to capital punishment. Our perspective is that psychologists have an important role in the administration of due process in capital cases. We oppose a bright-line rule prohibiting psychologists’ involvement in death penalty cases for several reasons. We begin by considering whether the death penalty per se constitutes a human rights violation, move on to describe the basic functioning of the legal system, analyze how the involvement of psychologists actually affects the capital trial process, and end with providing practical advice for psychologists’ provision of ethical services in capital trials.

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Date Created
2013

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Are Forensic Experts Already Biased Before Adversarial Legal Parties Hire Them?

Description

This survey of 206 forensic psychologists tested the “filtering” effects of preexisting expert attitudes in adversarial proceedings. Results confirmed the hypothesis that evaluator attitudes toward capital punishment influence willingness to accept capital case referrals from particular adversarial parties. Stronger death

This survey of 206 forensic psychologists tested the “filtering” effects of preexisting expert attitudes in adversarial proceedings. Results confirmed the hypothesis that evaluator attitudes toward capital punishment influence willingness to accept capital case referrals from particular adversarial parties. Stronger death penalty opposition was associated with higher willingness to conduct evaluations for the defense and higher likelihood of rejecting referrals from all sources Conversely, stronger support was associated with higher willingness to be involved in capital cases generally, regardless of referral source. The findings raise the specter of skewed evaluator involvement in capital evaluations, where evaluators willing to do capital casework may have stronger capital punishment support than evaluators who opt out, and evaluators with strong opposition may work selectively for the defense. The results may provide a partial explanation for the “allegiance effect” in adversarial legal settings such that preexisting attitudes may contribute to partisan participation through a self-selection process.

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2016-04-28

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Secondary trauma in capital trial defense practice for indigent clients

Description

This exploratory qualitative study is the first to examine secondary trauma experiences among capital trial defense practitioners, including attorneys, mitigation specialists, paralegals, and investigators, who work as a team in representing indigent clients facing a charge of capital murder which

This exploratory qualitative study is the first to examine secondary trauma experiences among capital trial defense practitioners, including attorneys, mitigation specialists, paralegals, and investigators, who work as a team in representing indigent clients facing a charge of capital murder which may result in the death penalty. Death penalty jurisprudence has been critically examined in numerous ways, and the negative psychological effects on those who are involved in the process is one of the issues that limited studies have documented. However, no systemic investigation of secondary trauma associated with capital trial defense practice for indigent clients has been conducted to date, and this dissertation aims to address this gap in knowledge.

Data were collected through semi-structured individual interviews using an interview guide, which allows participants to express their experiences in their own words in depth, while the researcher can stay focused on the research questions of the study. Data were analyzed using a constructivist phenomenological approach, and thematic identifications were conducted under overarching categories that were closely related to research questions including (1) motivation to engage in capital trial defense practice for indigent clients, (2) challenges in defending clients who face the death penalty, (3) emotional reactions to clients receiving death verdicts, (4) effects of the stress on the practitioners, (5) coping strategies, and (6) support system.

The findings indicate that a significant number of the participants had secondary traumatic experiences because of their engagement in capital trial defense practice for indigent clients. A death verdict for clients was perceived as a traumatic experience by the participants because of their long-term empathetic engagement with their clients and their family members as well as the dehumanization against their clients in death penalty jurisprudence. The participants often experienced stigmatization in their communities that was associated with their work, while organizational support in recognizing their emotional pain and attendance to psychological needs was unavailable. The findings of this study suggest that the human cost of the death penalty should be re-examined and organizational effects be made to address the negative psychological effects associated with capital trial defense practice for indigent clients.

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Date Created
2016

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Death Penalty Beliefs: How Attitudes are Shaped and Revised

Description

Although most Americans support capital punishment, many people have misconceptions about its efficacy and administration (e.g., that capital punishment deters crime). Can correcting people’s inaccurate attitudes change their support for the death penalty? If not, are there other strategies that

Although most Americans support capital punishment, many people have misconceptions about its efficacy and administration (e.g., that capital punishment deters crime). Can correcting people’s inaccurate attitudes change their support for the death penalty? If not, are there other strategies that might shift people’s attitudes about the death penalty? Some research suggests that statistical information can correct misconceptions about polarizing topics. Yet, statistics might be irrelevant if people support capital punishment for purely retributive reasons, suggesting other argumentative strategies may be more effective. In Study 1, I compared how two different interventions shifted attitudes towards the death penalty. In Studies 2 - 4 I examined what other attitudes shape endorsement of capital punishment, and used these findings to develop and test an educational intervention aimed at providing information about errors in the implementation of the death penalty. Altogether, these findings suggest that attitudes about capital punishment are based on more than just retributive motives, and that correcting misconceptions related to its administration and other relevant factors reduces support for the death penalty.

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Created

Date Created
2019