CrimProf Blog

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

Friday, February 26, 2021

Conklin on Parker on Whether Death Is Different to Federal Judges

This Article is a response to Brett Parker’s Note in the Stanford Law Review, Is Death Different to Federal Judges? An Empirical Comparison of Capital and Noncapital Guilt-Phase Determinations on Federal Habeas Review. Parker’s research found that appellate judges are significantly more likely to grant relief to capital murder defendants than they are to similarly situated noncapital murder defendants. While there are some minor issues with how the findings were reported, this Article primarily focuses on the implications of the research. This includes implications of race, the problem with using ratios as a goal, and answering whether being sentenced to death is worse than life without parole. Furthermore, a critique of Parker’s support for the inconsistent standard of appellate review his research discovered is provided.

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