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Capital Punishment
University of Oklahoma College of Law
Coyne, Randall T.

Capital Punishment Outline
o       3,300 death row inmantes in the nation
o       Oklahoma has 84, including 1 woman
o       Since 1972, ~1,136 executions
§         First execution in modern era (post-Gregg) 1977 Gary Gilmore, Utah, firing squad, waived appeals.
o       Oklahoma has executed 88
§         Charles Coleman, 1st to be executed in Oklahoma in 24 years, shot OHP officer. 1st person to be executed by lethal injection
o       Texas and California have largest death row population
o       Texas has executed 424
o       36 states use death penalty plus the federal government
o       14 states and the D.C. do not use death penalty
o       Methods still valid
§         firing squad
§         hanging
§         gas chamber
§         electric chair
§         lethal injection
o       CP Factors
§         deterrence
§         retribution
§         cost
§         innocence
·         Leibman study, 68% reversal rate in federal courts
o       8A – Cruel and unusual punishment (OK con says cruel OR unusual)
§         states are allowed to provide greater constitutional protections, but judges are political beings and less likely to afford greater protection. They generally apply federal constitution to state constitution.
§         some jurisdictions recognize “death row phenomena” so many years spent on death row, psychological suffering. Cruel and unusual b/c it takes so long.
o       14A – Due process and equal protection
o       Gregg v. Ga.
§         How to violate 8A
·         excessive (unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain)
§         Grossly disproportionate to the crime
§         Court approved bifurcated system, but doesn’t constitutionally mandate
o       Proportionality principle – punishment is proportional to the crime (Furman?)
§         Coker: rape of adult woman “grossly out of proportion to severity of crime”
·         Only Ga. had rape as capital offense b/c other states had entire system struck down, p.63
§         look to objective indicia
§         Kennedy – 5 states had similar statutes
o       Evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society
§         Trop v. Dulles (unusual)

on v. La., Sumner v. Shuman (NV) mandatory CP in certain crimes)
o       History of CP: page 176
o       prosecutorial discretion difficult ot prove
o       D’s executed
§         Black – 34%
§         White – 57%
§         Hispanic – 7%
§         Other – 2%
o       Race of Victims
§         Black – 14%
§         White – 79%
§         Hispanic 5%
§         Other 2%
o       McMillan v. State – conviction overturned b/c of false statements by law enforcement for murder of white woman.
o       Clarance v. Brandley – (page 223) White cheerleader found nude and dead, cop looked at the black guy and called him a nigger and said he would go down for it; 9 years before conviction overturned.
o       Female executions since 1976 – 11
§         3 oklahoma
§         3 texas (currently has 9 on death row)
§         2 florida
§         Alabama, north Carolina, Arkansas 1