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CURRENT LOCATION: TJCLCR | Archives | VOLUME 8, ISSUE 2 (Fall, 2003)


Volume 8, Number 2, Fall 2003


Invisible Executions: A Preliminary Analysis of Publication Rates in Death Penalty Cases in Selected Jurisdictions, 149
David R. Dow & Bridget T. McNeese

"Invisible Executions: A Preliminary Analysis of Publication Rates in Death Penalty Cases in Selected Jurisdictions", by David R. Row and Bridget T. McNeese discusses the relatively invisible nature of executions in America and the publication rates by courts of appeals and opinions dealing with these executions. The article focuses on the three stages of appeals in death penalty cases in California, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas, and Virginia.

The two assumptions that prompted the authors’ study, that death penalty opinions would be as invisible in the court of appeals as they are in the media and that they would be equally invisible irregardless of jurisdiction, proved largely false. However, Texas courts publish fewer death penalty opinions than other state courts that impose or perform a significant number of death sentences. Furthermore, the Fifth Circuit has the lowest publication rate of an federal appeals court in death penalty cases and the number is decreasing. It is suggested that the reason for this is that the Court is embarrassed by the opinions and are trying to hide these opinions from public access. The authors suggest that the judges who authorize or permit the execution of a person should not be permitted to hide from taking responsibility for their actions.


International Attention to the Death Penalty: Texas as a Lightning Rod, 175
John Quigley

In his article, "International Attention to the Death Penalty: Texas as a Lightning Rod", John Quigley positions Texas as a lightning rod for the death penalty. He argues that Texas is the impetus for the increase in international concern regarding capital punishment in the United States, both because of the high number of executions that take place in Texas and because of the substantial number of foreigners executed in Texas. Quigley suggests that because of the increase in international concern, foreign governments and adjudicatory institutions have begun intervening in United States cases more frequently, but the impact of this intervention is uncertain. He uses Fierro v. Gomez, 77 F.3d 301 (9th Cir. 1996) as an example to support his hypothesis.


The Failed Failsafe: The Politics of Executive Clemency, 191
Cathleen Burnett

The clemency petition is the final appeal available in a capital case before a prisoner is executed. Burnett questions the proposition that executive clemency serves as an effective procedural safeguard. The author concludes that the clemency process is burdened by political pressures that have kept it from correcting miscarriages of justice. Burnett argues that the petition process must be restructured to depoliticize its administration and provide for procedural justice.