In Capital Appeals Revisited and The Meaning of Capital Appeals, Barry Latzer and James N.G. Cauthen argue that a study of capital appeals should focus only on overturned findings of guilt, and complain that in A Broken System we examine all overturned capital verdicts. But the question they want studied cannot provide an accurate evaluation of a system of capital punishment. By proposing to count only "conviction" error and not "sentence" error, Latzer and Cauthen ignore that if a death sentence is overturned, the case is no longer capital and the system of capital punishment has failed to achieve its central objective. Latzer and Cauthen's failure to recognize this point illustrates their basic misunderstanding of the legal process. That misunderstanding not only leads them to misinterpret our work and to advance misleading conclusions about the functionality of the death penalty in the U.S., but also invalidates the conceptual basis of their own study.
Criminal Law | Criminal Procedure | Criminology | Criminology and Criminal Justice | Law
Jeffrey A. Fagan, James S. Liebman & Valerie West,
Death is the Whole Ball Game,
Available at: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/faculty_scholarship/3494