The Dilemmas of Excessive Sentencing: Death May Be Different But How Different?

15 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2014 Last revised: 12 Apr 2016

See all articles by Michael Meltsner

Michael Meltsner

Northeastern University - School of Law

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

This article is adapted from a speech given by the author in honor of Hugo Adams Bedau, inaugurating the Hugo Adam Bedau Memorial Lecture Series at Tufts University. The article explores the differences and substantial similarities of a prisoner being sentenced to death row versus being sentenced to life without parole. The article strongly advocates granting parole eligibility to those with life sentences. It provides several examples detailing why this is so difficult politically, and highlights how Supreme Court rulings in Miller v. Alabama and Graham v. Florida, holding mandatory life without parole as unconstitutional for minors, implicate the same set of issues. The piece ends with a list of systemic reforms that would improve the criminal justice landscape.

Keywords: death penalty, life without parole, LWOP, sentencing

Suggested Citation

Meltsner, Michael, The Dilemmas of Excessive Sentencing: Death May Be Different But How Different? (2014). Northeastern University Law Journal, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 5-19 (2015); Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper No. 197-2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2490563

Michael Meltsner (Contact Author)

Northeastern University - School of Law ( email )

416 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States

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