Law and Economics of Death Penalty Seminar
This seminar will examine the legal and policy aspects of a capital punishment regime. Students will have the option to take the seminar alone or to combine it with a practicum. This seminar component will explore three primary issues: 1) the Supreme Court's forty-year effort to define what cases can permissibly receive the death penalty and the procedures under which it must be imposed; 2) the arguments for and against the death penalty, with a major focus on whether the death penalty deters, is administered in a racially biased way, or is otherwise implemented in an arbitrary and capricious manner; and 3) what the U.S. and international status of the death penalty is today and what the prospects are for the future. The readings on deterrence and racial discrimination will entail some substantial statistical analysis, although a background in statistics, though helpful, will not be required. Special Instructions: After the term begins, students accepted into the course can transfer from section (01) into section (02), which meets the R requirement, with consent of the instructor. Students taking the course for R credit can take the course for either 2 or 3 units, depending on the paper length. Writing (W) credit is for students entering prior to Autumn 2012. Elements used in grading seminar: Written assignments and final paper. Students who take the practicum component must attend the 9 seminar class meetings and do all reading and writing assignments of the seminar except that instead of writing a final paper of their choosing they will focus on actual policy or litigation work that will be arranged with various death penalty abolition groups. I expect that there will be an opportunity to work on policy relevant research that will be of assistance in the repeal movement (as well as attending the 9 seminar class meetings and doing the readings for each class).