Temporal Arbitrariness: A Back to the Future Look at a Twenty-Five-Year-Old Death Penalty Trial
30 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2015 Last revised: 19 Mar 2015
Date Written: March 12, 2015
This essay grapples with a previously unexamined feature of the death penalty: temporal arbitrariness. How does the circumstance of time affect capital defendants? What might this mean for the stability of our notions of justice? I explore these questions using a 25-year-old death penalty trial as a case study, examining the procedural and factual highlights of the case and situating it in its temporal milieu. I then explore how the roles of doctrine, policy, and cultural attitudes would dramatically alter the nature and probable outcome of the case today, illustrating how temporal arbitrariness further exposes the death penalty’s unsteady administration and indeed, its crumbling legitimacy.
Keywords: Death Penalty, Modern, Evidence, Criminal Law
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation