Missed or Foregone Mitigation: Analyzing Claimed Error in Missouri Capital Clemency Cases
Criminal Law Bulletin, Vol. 46, No. 3, pp. 347-427, 2010
83 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2010 Last revised: 10 Jan 2019
Date Written: July 31, 2010
This research is an exploratory study which captures the prevalence of the types and reasons for claims of missed mitigation in 36 of 80 un-reversed Missouri death penalty cases reaching the clemency stage of review from convictions between 1980-1995. Missed mitigation claims raised in clemency cases may be claims of persistent error which undermine the reliability of death penalty sentencing. The research identifies the conditions which might contribute to the prevalence of claimed error. The study concludes that missed mitigation claims are ubiquitous in un-reversed capital cases which have passed all rounds of judicial inspection and have reached clemency. The high prevalence of sentencing error claims shows that structural overhaul of the capital trial may be needed.
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