CrimProf Blog

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

Friday, October 30, 2020

Pascoe & Novak on Executive Clemency in Death Cases

Daniel Pascoe and Andrew Novak (City University of Hong Kong (CityUHK) - School of Law and George Mason University - The Department of Criminology, Law & Society) have posted Deadly Justice Without Mercy in East Asia? (International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice (2020 Forthcoming)) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
This article explores executive clemency in death penalty cases in China, Taiwan and Japan. All three neighbouring legal jurisdictions are notable for frequently passing death sentences and executing prisoners over the past several decades without the executive branch of government granting individualised pardon or commutation to any death row prisoner since at least 1975, if not earlier. This highly unusual feature of all three nations’ death penalty practice suggests a policy puzzle. The authors’ case study comparison of these three East Asian jurisdictions reveals two common explanatory features. First is the availability of alternative postappellate procedures to mitigate punishment in cases undeserving of death, and to limit execution totals for policy reasons. Second is the inability of condemned clemency petitioners to directly access the ultimate clemency decision-maker, unlike in most death penalty retentionist jurisdictions. The authors conclude by making several policy recommendations on this basis.

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