Can 'Death Row Phenomenon' Be Confined to Death Row Inmates?

36 Pages Posted: 25 Feb 2005

See all articles by Tung Yin

Tung Yin

Lewis & Clark Law School

Date Written: February 2005


Death row phenomenon - which refers to the suffering endured by persons who spend years on death row in a state of uncertainty about whether they will be executed - has ceased for now to be a significant source of friction between the abolitionist nations of Western Europe and the United States, given the former's move toward an absolute position against the death penalty, and to extraditing death eligible suspects. But a careful revisit to the doctrine of death row phenomenon suggests that it may not be so easy to confine the doctrine to cases involving the death penalty, as death row phenomenon is as much about the conditions of confinement as it is about the death penalty. Accordingly, I argue that the continuing war on terrorism may increase tension between the United States and Europe, because any Al Qaeda terrorists captured in Europe, if not to be executed in the United States, would almost certainly be detained in maximum security conditions that could give rise to a variant of death row phenomenon.

Keywords: death row phenomenon, terrorism, death penalty litigation, ethics

JEL Classification: K34, K49, H56, H89

Suggested Citation

Yin, Tung, Can 'Death Row Phenomenon' Be Confined to Death Row Inmates? (February 2005). U Iowa Legal Studies Research Paper No. 05-11, Available at SSRN: or

Tung Yin (Contact Author)

Lewis & Clark Law School ( email )

10015 S.W. Terwilliger Blvd.
Portland, OR 97219
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics