Law Schedule of Classes

NOTE: Course offerings change. Classes offered this semester may not be offered in future semesters.

Apart from their assigned mod courses, 1L students may only enroll in courses offered as 1L electives. A complete list of these courses can be found on the 1L Elective Listings page. 1L students must use the 1L class number listed on the course description when enrolling.

236 sec. 001 - Capital Punishment and the Constitution Seminar (Spring 2022)

Instructor: Ryan Richard Davis  (view instructor's teaching evaluations - degree students only)
View all teaching evaluations for this course - degree students only

Units: 3
Grading Designation: Graded
Mode of Instruction: In-Person


W 6:25 PM - 9:05 PM
Location: Law 115
From January 12, 2022
To April 22, 2022

Course Start: January 12, 2022
Course End: April 22, 2022
Class Number: 32085

Enrollment info:
Enrolled: 20
Waitlisted: 0
Enroll Limit: 24
As of: 07/19 11:58 AM

This course examines the death penalty as imposed and regulated in the United States, primarily through a close reading of opinions from the United States Supreme Court. Following a brief historical overview, the course focuses on Eighth Amendment jurisprudence in the "modern era," and other legal doctrines, pertaining to aggravating and mitigating circumstances, victim impact evidence, proportionality principles, jury selection in capital cases, and other relevant topics. The course will also touch on the post-conviction process in capital cases, including the United States Supreme Court's interpretation of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996.

There will be an emphasis on class discussion. Attendance is mandatory. Students are expected to complete the reading, come prepared for class, and contribute their own thoughts in a seminar environment.

The course is designed for students who, regardless of their views about the death penalty, want to learn more about the application of capital punishment in the United States and relevant legal principles. The course will be particularly useful for students who are interested in a career in criminal law, including in a post-conviction context.

The casebook is Rivkind & Shatz, Cases and Materials on the Death Penalty, Fourth Edition (Thomson/Reuters 2016).

Attendance at the first class is mandatory for all currently enrolled and waitlisted students; any currently enrolled or waitlisted students who are not present on the first day of class (without prior permission of the instructor) will be dropped. The instructor will continue to take attendance throughout the add/drop period and anyone who moves off the waitlist into the class must continue to attend or have prior permission of the instructor in order not to be dropped.

Requirements Satisfaction:

This is an Option 1 class; two Option 1 classes fulfill the J.D. writing requirement.

Exam Notes: (P) Final paper  
Course Category: Criminal Law
This course is listed in the following sub-categories:
Social Justice and Public Interest

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