CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Monday, August 21, 2006

Many on Death Row Volunteer to Die

From Executions in America continue to generally decline, according to state and federal records, but one trend remains constant: One in eight convicted murderers who are executed "volunteer" to die by abandoning their legal appeals.

Death row volunteers account for 123 of the 1,041 executions carried out since capital punishment resumed in 1977, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, a group in Washington, D.C., that opposes the death penalty. That rate — about 12% — has held constant for nearly 30 years.

The phenomenon "is something that hasn't gotten much attention, but that is changing," says J.C. Oleson, author of a 2006 law journal article about volunteers. "Why do they do it? And how should the legal system regard someone who just doesn't want to participate? It raises real questions."

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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