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Death Penalty Lab (LAWS 5721-5722)

Course Info

Death Penalty Lab I

This Lab will involve students in an integrated experience of academic research and public service. Students will work on semester-long research projects arising from actual death penalty cases that will be of assistance to practitioners in death penalty cases or research projects for governmental and non-governmental organizations engaged in support for, opposition to, or reform of the death penalty at a local state, national, or global level. Issues may include: victim's rights; jury selection (race/gender discrimination); proportionality (discrepancies in geographic application or application to different fact patterns); economic impact on the system; clemency; and transnational problems with foreign accused; systemic review (e.g., Illinois commission); and other specific recurring issues arising from innocence, assistance of counsel, experts, jury instructions, or misconduct (judge, attorney, jury). The students will have no direct representation responsibilities.

Death Penalty Lab II

This lab will involve students in an integrated experience of academic research and public service. As enrollment is limited to students who have successfully completed Lab I, these students will assume a supervisory role working with Lab I students. Students will work on research projects arising from actual death penalty cases that will be of assistance to practitioners in death penalty cases or research projects for governmental and non-governmental organizations engaged in support for, opposition to, or reform of the death penalty at a local state, national, or global level. Issues may include: jury selection issues; proportionality issues; economic impact of the application of the death penalty; examination of issues surrounding a specific state's ability to provide a viable clemency; issues of international law; research, investigation, and litigation of case specific issues ranging from actual innocence, ineffective assistance of counsel, ineffective assistance of experts, prosecutorial misconduct, judicial misconduct, juror misconduct, etc.

Instructor

Prof. Michael Benza
Prof. Michael Benza teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure I, Death Penalty Issues, the Death Penalty Lab, Federal Prisoner Rights, International Perspectives on the Death Penalty, as well as coaching the International Criminal Court moot court team and he previously coached the Mock Trial team.

Syllabus

The syllabus for your course is available on Canvas.

Textbooks

**No Text Required **

Study Aids

These study aids are available online.  Please click the hyperlinked title to view them. For instructions on how to use the specific platforms, including troubleshooting, please view Andy Dorchak's Study Aids Research Guide.

Research Guide