The Death of Death Row Clemency and the Evolving Politics of Unequal Grace

39 Pages Posted: 17 May 2014 Last revised: 14 Jun 2015

Date Written: May 15, 2014

Abstract

While America’s appetite for capital punishment continues to wane over time, clemency for death row inmates is all but extinct. Moreover, what little clemency activity that persists continues to distribute unevenly across gender, racial and ethnic groups, geography, governors’ political affiliation, and over time. Insofar as courts appear extremely reluctant to review – let alone interfere with – clemency activity, little, if any, formal legal recourse exists. Results from this study of clemency activity on state death rows (1973-2010) suggest that potential problems arise, however, to the extent that our criminal justice system relies on clemency to function as coherent extrajudicial check.

Keywords: clemency, death penalty, criminal, empirical

Suggested Citation

Heise, Michael, The Death of Death Row Clemency and the Evolving Politics of Unequal Grace (May 15, 2014). Alabama Law Review, Forthcoming; Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 14-17. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2437512 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2437512

Michael Heise (Contact Author)

Cornell Law School ( email )

310 Myron Taylor Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
United States
607-255-0069 (Phone)
607-255-7193 (Fax)

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