CrimProf Blog

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

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

MacLean on Capital Punishment

Maclean-charlesCharles E. MacLean (Indiana Tech Law School) has posted Foreword: Capital Punishment: Iterating Toward Perfection, When Perfection is Unattainable (Lincoln Memorial University Law Review, Vol. 2, No. 1 (2014 Forthcoming)) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

I was invited to write this foreword to an issue of the Lincoln Memorial University Law Review that will contain some my students' seminar research papers on capital punishment in America.

We look back now with haughty disdain and self-righteous indignation at the law of capital punishment as it existed in America just a very short time ago: regularly executing convicts who were mentally ill or retarded, under the age of eighteen, or found guilty of non-homicide offenses. Not long ago in America, all-White juries and White judges, after hearing racially charged arguments from White prosecutors, took mere minutes to convict minority defendants, who had been represented by patently ineffective counsel. To many, this sounds horrific, and we may ask ourselves, “How could it have been like that in America?” 

That was the reality just a few short years ago. The broken American capital punishment system of several decades ago began to change only after courageous legal researchers and scholars spoke up and confronted the hidden and tragic realities on America’s death rows. In this volume, a new group of young scholars and researchers pick up the mantle from those who came before, and stand on their shoulders to confront the injustice and inequality played out still in today’s American capital punishment system. Tomorrow’s scholars will stand on the shoulders of those scholars whose vision and creativity today are captured on these pages in the Lincoln Memorial University Law Review.

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