CrimProf Blog

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

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Zimring and Johnson on Capital Punishment's Influence on American Criminal Justice

Zimring- Cal

Franklin E. Zimring and David T. Johnson (University of California, Berkeley, pictured and University of Hawaii at Manoa) have posted The Dark at the Top of the Stairs: Four Destructive Influences of Capital Punishment on American Criminal Justice on SSRN.  Here is the abstract: 

State execution is not a major part of America's system of criminal punishment, but it casts a long shadow over the principles and practices of the rest of criminal justice. This essay discusses four negative impacts of the death penalty on the larger system: (1) The hyper-extension of the substantive criminal law; (2) The symbolic transformation of harsh punishment to a private reward; (3) The creation and overuse of Life Without Possibility of Parole (LWOP) sentences; and (4) The diversion of legal and judicial resources from other pressing problems in the criminal system.

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