Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Catalyzing More Adequate Federal Habeas Review of Summation Misconduct: Persuasion Theory and the Sixth Amendment Right to an Unbiased Jury

48 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2008  

Ryan Patrick Alford

Lakehead University - Bora Laskin Faculty of Law

Abstract

This article argues that higher scrutiny of claims of argumentative misconduct in prosecutors' closing arguments is warranted in the context of federal habeas review of state criminal trials. The current standard against which these claims are reviewed is unduly convoluted and subjective. Furthermore, habeas review is essential where state courts lack institutional competence to address the misconduct at issue, as the article demonstrates. The proposal is to realign the test for unduly inflammatory summations with the test applied to prejudicial pretrial publicity, as persuasion theory demonstrates that these phenomena have similar effects.

Keywords: forensic misconduct, inflammatory summations, closing arguments, sixth amendment, jury trial, persuasion theory, criminal procedure, habeas corpus

JEL Classification: K14, K40, K41

Suggested Citation

Alford, Ryan Patrick, Catalyzing More Adequate Federal Habeas Review of Summation Misconduct: Persuasion Theory and the Sixth Amendment Right to an Unbiased Jury. Oklahoma Law Review, Vol. 59, No. 3, Fall 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1100692

Ryan Patrick Alford (Contact Author)

Lakehead University - Bora Laskin Faculty of Law ( email )

955 Oliver Road
Thunder Bay, ON P7B 5E1
Canada

Paper statistics

Downloads
50
Abstract Views
460