Monday, November 17, 2008

The Next Frontier

We were interested to see, on the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC)'s website, a law review article suggesting that severe mental illness is the next frontier in death penalty jurisprudence. DPIC summarizes:

Professor Bruce Winick of the Miami School of Law has written an article arguing that the Supreme Court should extend the protection it presently offers to those with mental retardation and juveniles to offenders with severe mental illness, as well. In "The Supreme Court’s Emerging Death Penalty Jurisprudence: Severe Mental Illness as the Next Frontier," Winick reviews the High Court’s analysis of capital punishment under the Eighth Amendment with a focus on when the Court has found the death penalty disproportionate to the crime or for the offender. While Winick argues that the Supreme Court is not prepared to render the death penalty itself as cruel and unusual, he concludes that, “At least some (although by no means all) offenders suffering from severe mental illness, like those with mental retardation and juveniles, will have sufficiently diminished culpability and deterability at the time of the offense to render capital punishment a disproportionate penalty under the Eighth Amendment.”

Read more.

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