Religion and the Death Penalty

Religion has the ability to affect death penalty trials in numerous ways. The most studied include the effects of jurors’ religiosity and religious appeals used by lawyers during trial. Religion also affects judges’ decisions. Although the study of how religion affects legal decision making is still in its infancy, religion has the potential to affect… Continue reading Religion and the Death Penalty

Moral Disengagement and Execution

People ordinarily refrain from behaving in ways that violate their core moral standards because such conduct will bring self-censure. In some institutional role functions, however, such as military combat and state executions, the taking of human life presents a grave moral predicament. Intentional infliction of death and destruction can, therefore, exact a heavy emotional toll… Continue reading Moral Disengagement and Execution

Mental Retardation and the Death Penalty

Mental retardation and the death penalty has been a controversial topic for decades. The U.S. Supreme Court has found, in Atkins v. Virginia (2002), that such executions are unconstitutional; this decision was partially based on the community’s evolving standards of decency. The legal system requires mental health professionals to determine whether a prisoner is mentally… Continue reading Mental Retardation and the Death Penalty

Mental Illness and the Death Penalty

Mental illness and the death penalty have been a controversial topic for decades. The U.S. Supreme Court has found that such executions are unconstitutional. Although public opinion is somewhat mixed and understudied, national societies such as the American Psychological Association oppose executing the mentally ill. The legal system asks mental health professionals to determine a… Continue reading Mental Illness and the Death Penalty