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236 sec. 1 - Capital Punishment and the Constitution Seminar (Spring 2012)

Instructor: Larry Gibbs  (view instructor's teaching evaluations)
Instructor: Cliff Gardner  (view instructor's teaching evaluations)
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Units: 3
Meeting Time: M 3:35-6:15
Meeting Location: 111

Course Start: January 09, 2012
Course Control Number (Non-1Ls): 49655

The course offers an overview of federal constitutional law governing the death penalty. After an initial look at the history of capital punishment and the arguments for and against the death penalty, we will consider the following topics: early challenges to the death penalty; different statutory attempts to enact constitutional death penalty schemes; execution of offenders who commit non-homicide crimes and who are felony murder accomplices, juveniles, mentally retarded, insane or possibly innocent; the effect of race on the administration of capital punishment; jury selection in capital cases; the roles of the defendant, defense counsel, the prosecutor, and the trial judge; the procedural requisites and evidentiary limits for capital sentencing trials; penalty trial instructions and arguments; federal habeas corpus review of capital sentences; clemency proceedings; execution; and international perspectives on capital punishment.

The course offers guest speakers, video documentaries, and, if possible, an optional visit to a capital trial or an appellate argument in a death penalty case and an optional tour of San Quentin State Prison, which houses California's death row for men.

The course is designed for students, regardless of their views about the death penalty, who generally wish to learn more about the application of capital punishment in the United States as well as for students who want to be prosecutors or criminal defense attorneys.

Course requires familiarity with American criminal law and procedure.

Exam Notes: P
Course Category: Criminal Law

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Required Books are in blue

  • Cases and Materials on the Death Penalty, 3d
    Nina Rivkind, Steven F. Shatz,
    Publisher: West
    ISBN: 9780314199560
    Copyright Date: To Be Determined
    Price: $74.00
    Note: prices are sampled from internet bookstores. Folletts prices are unavailable at this time.

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