A new empirical study titled A Culture That Is Hard to Defend: Extralegal Factors in Federal Death Penalty Cases, by Jon B. Gould (Professor and Director, Washington Institute for Public Affairs Research, American University) and Kenneth S. Leon (Visiting Assistant Professor, George Washington University), examines the role of disparity in defense resources in federal capital prosecutions. This study focuses on “local legal culture to explain place-based variation in the outcomes of federal capital trials,” and finds “[a]t the height of the federal death penalty (1998-2004), there is existed a floor of defense resources below which defendants had twice the chance of being sentenced to death at trial.” Moreover, the study concludes “the lowest cost defenses had little do with legal factors and instead reflected political, geographic, and cultural influences.”
Suggested citation: Gould, Jon B and Leon, Kenneth S., A Culture That Is Hard to Defend: Extralegal Factors in Federal Death Penalty Cases (October 26, 2017). Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Vol. 107, No. 4, 2017, available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3059979
The Training Division provides materials to federal capital trial and federal habeas counsel through the Capital Defense Network.