Law and Economics of the Death Penalty Seminar

Donohue, J. (PI)
Section Number
This seminar will examine the legal and policy aspects of a capital punishment regime, with a focus on three primary issues: 1) the Supreme Court's forty-year effort to define what cases can permissibly receive the death penalty and the procedures under which it must be imposed; 2) the arguments for and against the death penalty, with a major focus on whether the death penalty deters, is administered in a racially biased way, or is otherwise implemented in an arbitrary and capricious manner; and 3) what the U.S. and international status of the death penalty is today and what the prospects are for the future in the wake of Justice Breyer's invitation in June 2015 to the Court to rule on the constitutionality of capital punishment in light of the existing empirical evidence. The principle text in the class will be Steiker and Steiker, Courting Death: The Supreme Court and Capital Punishment. Although the readings on deterrence and racial discrimination will entail some substantial statistical analysis, a background in statistics, though helpful, will not be required. Special Instructions: After the term begins, students can transfer from section (01) into section (02), which meets the R requirement, with consent of the instructor. Students taking the course for R credit can take the course for either 2 or 3 units, depending on the paper length. Elements used in grading seminar: attendance, class participation, short response papers, and final paper or approved research with the professor.
Law Honors/Pass/Restrd Cr/Fail
Course Tags
Contemporary Issues
Academic Year
Section Days
Start Time
4:15 PM
End Time
6:15 PM