Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1467802
 
 

Footnotes (90)



 


 



Role of Intimacy in the Prosecution and Sentencing of Capital Murder Cases in the United States Armed Forces, 1984-2005


Catherine M. Grosso


Michigan State University - College of Law

David C. Baldus


University of Iowa - College of Law

George G. Woodworth


University of Iowa - Department of Statistics & Actuarial Science

August 29, 2009

New Mexico Law Review, Forthcoming
MSU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 07-14

Abstract:     
Scholars interested in the intersection between domestic violence and criminal law have posited that the existence of an intimate relationship between a defendant and a victim may act as an automatic mitigator in the prosecution of violent felonies. This tendency to discount the severity of domestic homicide has been called the domestic discount. While a number of scholars have studied the influence of a domestic discount on other crimes, very little work has been done in capital prosecutions and sentencing.

This article seeks to advance the discussion by considering whether such a discount exists in the United States military’s prosecution of 104 death eligible homicides between 1984 and 2005. More specifically, this paper considers whether, after all legitimate factors are considered, the 25 death eligible cases involving a domestic homicide are less likely to be prosecuted as a capital case, convicted of a death eligible murder, or sentenced to death than similarly situated cases that are not domestic homicides. Ten additional cases allow this paper to explore the merit of excluding predatory domestic homicides as well as cases in which the accused killed only his or her child or children from the primary definition of domestic homicide.

These results lend qualified support to the proposition that a domestic discount may operate in death sentencing decisions in the military capital punishment system. In contrast, they do not find a domestic discount in charging decisions. As such, the results highlight the importance of focusing on individual decision points in case analyses and of including appropriate controls, including controls for time where appropriate.

Finally, this study lends support to Prof. Elizabeth Rapaport’s recommendation that predatory domestic homicides be excluded from primary analyses in research considering the presence of a domestic discount. In every instance where the domestic homicide subset included the predatory domestic homicides, the evidence of discount diminished and the evidence of aggressive prosecution increased. For example, the odds of the prosecution seeking death more than doubled with the inclusion of the predatory cases. Given the limited sample size in this study, it would be useful to replicate this model in a larger study.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 39

Keywords: death penalty, capital punishment, empirical studies, military law

Accepted Paper Series





Download This Paper

Date posted: September 3, 2009 ; Last revised: December 15, 2010

Suggested Citation

Grosso, Catherine M. and Baldus, David C. and Woodworth, George G., Role of Intimacy in the Prosecution and Sentencing of Capital Murder Cases in the United States Armed Forces, 1984-2005 (August 29, 2009). New Mexico Law Review, Forthcoming; MSU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 07-14. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1467802

Contact Information

Catherine M. Grosso (Contact Author)
Michigan State University - College of Law ( email )
318 Law College Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300
United States
David C. Baldus
University of Iowa - College of Law ( email )
Melrose and Byington
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States
George G. Woodworth
University of Iowa - Department of Statistics & Actuarial Science ( email )
Iowa City, IA 52242-1409
United States
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 517
Downloads: 69
Download Rank: 203,268
Footnotes:  90

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo8 in 0.234 seconds