Jurisprudence of Capital Punishment

Law 445



Rigorous Writing Experience (RWE)



This course examines capital punishment from a philosophical and jurisprudential perspective and considers it in relation to the goals of punishment (retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation), the concept of the rule of law in society, majority rule and public opinion, and the nature of judicial decision making. The heart of the seminar will involve the modern approach to capital punishment as reflected in the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1972 to the present, with an intense focus on what various Justices advocated and how constitutional law develops in some ways based on the make-up of the court. We will also discuss contemporary issues including the scope, utility, and fairness of capital punishment with respect to mental retardation, age, gender, and race, evaluating how these notions have manifested themselves in the decisions of the Supreme Court and specifically the thinking of individual justices. [NOTE: The reading requirements are substantial the first six weeks of the semester.]

Criminal Law

Recommended: Criminal Procedure

UNC School of Law | Van Hecke-Wettach Hall | 160 Ridge Road, CB #3380 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 | 919.962.5106 | Accessibility

If you are seeing this, you are either using a non-graphical browser or Netscape 4.x (4.7, 4.8, etc.) and this page appears very plain. If you are using a 4.x version of Netscape, this site is fully functional but lacks styles and optimizations available in other browsers. For full functionality, please upgrade your browser to the latest version of Internet Explorer or Firefox.