A Defense Plea for Leniency at the Mitigation Hearing - State V. Raskolnikov
Michael A. Berch
Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law
Arizona State Law Journal, Vol. 38, p. 469, 2006
This paper explores the significant issues confronting the jury, a microcosm of society, during the penalty phase of a capital case using themes first developed in Fyodor Dostoevsky's novel, Crime and Punishment. This paper seeks to understand, philosophically and psychologically, the societal conflict over the death penalty. What better way to achieve this goal than to explore Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov's inner nature in light of the horrendous murders he commits and to apply any insights gleaned to the current American scene and to our concepts of criminal justice? For, after all, Crime and Punishment presents an insightful journey into the mind of a murderer.
Using the book as the principal source of the evidence during the penalty phase of the sentencing process, this paper presents the final argument to a jury on behalf of Raskolnikov. The mock defense summation in State v. Raskolnikov is based upon one that the author delivered at a conference at the Arizona State University College of Law on November 4, 2005. With this framework and within the wide latitude allowed in the courtroom setting, many of the intriguing questions facing juries, in life and death situations and in their attempts to give meaning to recent judicial and legislative pronouncements, on their role in the penalty phase of capital cases are considered.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 13
Keywords: death penalty, sentencing, criminal law
Date posted: May 28, 2009
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