The Impact of Death Penalty Abolition on Conviction Appeals in State Supreme Courts
This paper explores the ways in which the politics and legality of capital punishment affect judicial outcomes in non-capital cases. Specifically, it analyzes the effect that state-level death penalty abolition has on the success of non-capital conviction appeals in state supreme courts. Using data from all 50 states on cases decided between 1995 and 1998, I employ linear probability estimation and logistical regression to analyze the factors affecting judicial outcomes in state supreme courts. These factors include, among others: the legality of the death penalty in the forum state; whether the case occurred pre or post-conviction; the relevance of certain legal issues; and the ultimate disposition of the case. The outcome of interest is a modified judicial outcome variable, which describes whether the party facing criminal liability – the party opposite the government – won or lost at the state supreme court. Several variables exerted statistically-significant effects. State-level death penalty abolition was found to decrease a defendant’s likelihood of success by 11 percent. The ultimate disposition of the case – the extent to which the lower court ruling was reversed or affirmed – also played a prominent role in determining outcomes. Defendants were more than three times as likely to have won a case if the decision reversed the lower court, and defendants were about one-tenth as likely to have won a case if the decision affirmed the lower court. These results shed light on the complex web of factors that affect judicial outcomes and clarify the impact of death penalty abolition.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Forced Medication for Death Penalty Appeals: The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Held That the Government Does Not Have to Prove All Four Sell Factors if Medicating Inmates Would Promote Their Interests, Such as When They Wish to Participate In Post Conviction Relief Act Proceedings Podesta, Arwen; Kelly, D. Clay (2009)