An argument advocating reform in the appellate process of U.S. capital cases

Abstract

The U.S. appellate system in capital cases provides the convicted with a large number of appeals in order to ensure that an innocent person is not executed. The current manifestation of this system follows the paradigm established in the landmark 1976 case, Gregg v. Georgia. In this work, I propose a definition for inefficiency in appellate systems, and I explain the Gregg protocol in light of that definition. The history of the death penalty is emphasized to establish a transition to and to contrast instances of efficiency, or lack thereof, before, the current procedure was established. The protections installed by Gregg are dissected with regard to evaluating efficiency. Subsequent Supreme Court opinions are scrutinized to examine which reforms were implemented. The costs of inefficiency, both financial and legal, are inspected to determine whether a potential lack of efficiency warrants substantial reforms to the appellate system. Results indicate that the Gregg system does meet the definition of inefficiency, and that reforms could benefit the process. Recommendation for reforms, with the qualifier that this research was done with the primary purpose of evaluating efficiency, despite the obvious presence of numerous other methods of appraisal.

Notes

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Thesis Completion

2000

Semester

Spring

Advisor

Handberg, Roger

Degree

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Program

Political Science

Subjects

Arts and Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic;Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Sciences;Appellate procedure -- United States;Capital punishment -- United States

Format

Print

Identifier

DP0021587

Language

English

Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access

None

Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

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