The Appellate Process in Capital Cases

Authored by: Vanessa Woodward Griffin , O. Hayden Griffin

Routledge Handbook on Capital Punishment

Print publication date:  December  2017
Online publication date:  December  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138651579
eBook ISBN: 9781315624723
Adobe ISBN:


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The appellate process is an integral part of death penalty cases in the United States. Although a right given to anyone convicted of a crime, those sentenced to death are awarded what is known as “super” due process. The rationale of “super” due process lies within the conviction that those sentenced to death are deserving of intensive judicial scrutiny. Further, under the doctrine of the “evolving standards of decency” there is societal interest in the continuous review of the constitutionality of the death penalty in its methods and procedures. These rights to appeals; however, have not been without their challenges, as certain legislation has vastly restricted the appellate process, particularly at the federal level. In this chapter, the development and current appellate process in capital cases is reviewed, followed by an examination of applicable legislation.

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