POLI 195-002
The End of the Death Penalty
M, W 12:00–12:50pm, Stone Center 103, Spring 2013

Prof. Frank R. Baumgartner
313 Hamilton Hall, phone 962-0414
Web site: http://www.unc.edu/~fbaum/

Office hours: M, W, 3:15-5:00 pm and by appointment

Graduate Assistant: Derek Epp, derekepp@email.unc.edu

Click here for the syllabus

Click here to see the speakers series (printable version); larger poster version

Readings are below. You should purchase the one book, and all other readings should have a hyperlink below. Let me know if you have problems with any of the links.

Week 1, Wed Jan 9, Introduction and overview of the course

Week 2, Jan 14, 16, Historical background and statistics about the death penalty in America

  1. Baumgartner De Boef and Boydstun, ch. 2
  2. Interesting newspaper story to read in respose tot he question in class last week about what happens to those who are exonerated: not as much as you might think or hope. BTW, the book which is reviewed here might be a good topic for one of your papers this semester.
  3. slides from class: statistics, maps

Week 3, Jan 23, Overview of current controversies
(No class on MLK day, happy holiday)

  1. Jost, Kenneth.  2010.  Death Penalty Debates: Is the capital punishment system working?  CQ Researcher 20 (41, Nov. 19):  965-988.
  2. Results from the first-day-of-class quiz on facts about the death penalty. Like most Americans, you sure don't know much about it! :)
  3. National Academy of Sciences study on whether the death penalty is a deterrent to murder, from 2012.

Week 4, Jan 28, 30, How the death penalty came back so strongly in the 1970s

  1. Simon, Jonathan.  2011. Interposition: Segregation, Capital Punishment, and the Forging of the Post-New Deal Political Leader. In David Garland, Randall McGowen, and Michael Meranze, eds.  America’s Death Penalty: Between Past and Present. New York: New York University Press, pp. 166-90. slides
  2. Garland, David.  2010.  Peculiar Institution: America’s Death Penalty in an Age of Abolition. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Chapter 9, New Political and Cultural Meanings, pp. 231-255. slides from class
  3. First paper list of topics and sources, distributed in class on Jan 30.

Week 5, Feb 4, 6, Guest lectures by Profs. Isaac Unah and Seth Kotch

  1. Unah, Isaac.  2011.  Empirical Analysis of Race and the Process of Capital Punishment in North Carolina.  Michigan State Law Review 2011:  609-658.
  2. UNC Wilson Library Special Collections on the History of the Death Penalty: http://www.lib.unc.edu/mss/exhibits/penalty/intro.html
  3. Kotch, Seth, and Robert P. Mosteller.  2010.  The Racial Justice Act and the Long Struggle with Race and the Death Penalty in North Carolina.  UNC Law Review 88: 2031-2132.  (Part I:  pp. 2031-2077)

(First paper topic proposal due in discussion section this week for approval.)

Week 6, Feb 11, 13, The North Carolina situation leading up to the RJA

  1. Kotch, Seth, and Robert P. Mosteller (Part II:  pp. 2077-2111) (class slides for Monday, slides for Wednesday)
  2. Welty, Jeff.  2012.  The Death Penalty in North Carolina:  History and Overview.  Working paper, UNC School of Government, April.
  3. Click here to see a story from today's (Feb 11) Washington Post about the ex-executioner in Virginia, a man who oversaw 62 executions.
  4. Click here to see materials provided by Representative Stam related to his talk on Wednesday Feb 13 at 5:30pm.
    1. historical materials
    2. Floor speech on the RJA
    3. Collection of deterrence studies
    4. Revised text, SB 416 from 2011

Week 7, Feb 18, 20, Changing debates about the death penalty over time

  1. Radelet, Michael L., and Marian J. Borg.  2000.  The Changing Nature of Death Penalty Debates.  Annual Review of Sociology 26:  43-61.
  2. Baumgartner De Boef and Boydstun, ch. 1, 3 (class slides for Monday and Wednesday)

Week 8 Feb 25, 27, How these terms of debate shifted and affected public opinion

  1. Baumgartner De Boef and Boydstun, ch. 4-6. Slides for Monday, Wednesday
  2. Note: Some students have asked if I can put up information concerning the pardon of innocence petition for our speaker last Wednesday, Ed Chapman. Here is a link to an on-line petition. Another student-led suggestion is to tweet the Governor "Tell @PatMcCroryNC to #PardonEdChapman"
  3. Our speaker this week is William Michael Dillon. Here is a bio statement. Find him on Facebook by searching for that name, or go here to his web site.

Week 9, Mar 4, 6, The impact of the shifting terms of debate on the number of death sentences

  1. Baumgartner De Boef and Boydstun, ch. 7-8. Slides for Monday, Wednesday.
  2. (First paper due, March 6, in lecture)

(Spring Break, March 9-17)

Week 10, Mar 18, 20, Passage of the 2009 The Racial Justice Act

  1. Cook, Philip J.  2009.  Potential Savings from Abolition of the Death Penalty in North Carolina American Law and Economics Review 11, 2: 498-529. (slides for Monday and Wednesday)
  2. Kotch, Seth, and Robert P. Mosteller (Part III:  pp. 2111-2131)
  3. Racial Justice Act, 2009
  4. Reform of the Racial Justice Act, 2011
    1. Note: Our speaker this Wednesday is Chris Mumma, along with Greg Taylor, who was released based on her efforts. Here is another story of another of her clients, an inmate who may soon be released after 34 years in prison, but innocent of the crime. Note that the article appeared just the other day, March 16, 2013.
    2. Other interesting links: Washington Post blog about innocence"; Washington Post story about Maryland voting to abolish the death penalty.
    3. Read for Wednesday's discussion this story about current plans to eliminate the RJA and to speed up executions.
    4. Here is a strong denunciation of the RJA by State Sen. Thom Goolsby, who has sponsored the legislation discussed above.

Week 11, Mar 25, 27, Scandal at the NC State Bureau of Investigation

  1. Read the four part series in the Raleigh News and Observer regarding the State Bureau of Investigation, from August 2010. Slides for Monday, Wednesday.
  2. Read or view these items relating to the case of LaMonte Armstrong, our speaker on Wed March 27
    1. Duke news story on LaMonte's release
    2. You tube videos relating to a film in progress on his case

Second paper topic:

Write a 5 page paper on one of the following three topics. As in the previous paper, be careful to use high quality academic sources in your bibliography; avoid blogs, undocumented or unofficial internet sources, journalistic pieces and the like.  Rather, use sources that come from academic journals, law reviews, and academic books. Papers are due April 17 at the beginning of lecture.
1) You already know from the course readings how the innocence frame arose and how important it has become.  After the innocence frame emerged to such prominence, what followed from that?  Trace the subsequent development of the death penalty debate, and the various states that have abolished, by looking at the arguments used. Would these have happened if the innocence frame had not emerged in the 1990s?
2) Explain North Carolina’s Racial Justice Act. What makes this act unique? How did the act change from the original 2009 version to the 2011 revision? In answering the prompt explain the precedent set in McCleskey v. Kemp and how it applies to the RJA.
3) Explain why arguments about the death penalty are so complicated. Why do we rarely see a simple moral debate over the death penalty? In answering the prompt consider the different strategies employed by abolitionists and death penalty supporters.  Don’t shy away from discussing the current debates going on this semester in the NC legislature.  (Newspaper sources ok for that part of this paper, obviously.)

Week 12, Apr 1, 3, Litigating the Racial Justice Act

  1. Grosso, Catherine M., and Barbara O’Brien.  2012. A Stubborn Legacy: The Overwhelming Importance of Race in Jury Selection in 173 Post-Batson North Carolina Capital Trials, Iowa Law Review 97: 1531-1559. slides
  2. O’Brien, Barbara, and Catherine M. Grosso. 2011.  Confronting Race: How a Confluence of Social Movements Convinced North Carolina to Go where the McCleskey Court Wouldn’t. Michigan State Law Review 2011: 463-504. slides

Week 13,  Apr 8, 10, The first Racial Justice Act decision by Judge Weeks

  1. State of North Carolina v. Marcus Reymond Robinson, Order Granting Motion for Appropriate Relief, 91 CRS 23143, 20 April 2012. Slides for Monday on Judge Week's order; Wednesday slides on the secondary consequences of innocence; spreadsheet listing all NC exonerees.

Week 14 , Apr 15, 17, The North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission

  1. Discussion / lectures this week with Ms. Kendra Montgomery-Blinn, Executive Director of the Commission.
  2. Readings: Come to class familiar with the web site of the Commission (not only this page but the entire site).
(Second paper due in lecture, April 17.)

Week 15, Apr 22, 24 (last day of class) Review, discussions, complaints about the professor (optional)

  1. see your old quizzes here; use this to study. (This link removed after the final exam.)
  2. see the results of the original quiz from the first day of class, and your collective progress as of April 22. You can do better!

Final Exam:  Wednesday May 1, 12:00-2:00pm, in the regular classroom. Good luck!