Errors and Ethics: Dilemmas in Death

By Penny J. White / Hofstra Law Review, on 1 January 2001

In the last five years, the death penalty has become a frequent topic of discussion. While discussion of such an emotive topic is not unusual for any period in history, the tenor of the recent dialogue is unusual. For the most part, the discussion centers around the problems with capital punishment, particularly its inaccuracy and unfairness. This Article begins in Part II with a discussion of recent claims about the frequency of errors in capital cases. Part III enumerates and discusses the factors generally thought to be the cause of the errors. Part IV details new rules recently adopted in one jurisdiction in an effort to eliminate the errors. Part IV also suggests that these new rules, though worthwhile, are actually a reiteration of long-standing ethical obligations of judges and lawyers, the breach of which is responsible for many of the errors. Part V recommends additional remedies which the bench and the bar must take if there is a true commitment to providing a fair, just, and reliable system for determining who the government is entitled to kill.

  • Document type Article
  • Countries list United States
  • Themes list Networks,