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UMass Amherst LEGAL 485 - Syllabus

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REQUIREMENTS AND GRADINGREADING REQUIREMENTSCOURSE SCHEDULESeptember 28: The Controversy over DeterrenceHugo Adam Bedau: 176-182October 17: Murder Defendants Who Did Not KillOctober 24: Death Penalty and Juries – QUIZ #3October 26: Juvenile SentencesJuvenile Sentences: This section looks at the history and constitutionality of executing juveniles. What is the minimum age? Who sets it? Why?Executing the Mentally Retarded: This section, like the pervious two, look at the constitutionality, this time of executing the mentally retarded. Again, who makes these decisions and why?November 7: Race and the Death PenaltyRace and the Death Penalty: This section addresses another volatile topic in U.S. sociolegal circles: Race. Here, we will look at whether race can be connected to the administering of capital punishment or the criminal justice system in general.FINAL ASSIGNMENT DUE ON TUESDAY DECEMBER 19 AT 2:00 IN GORDON HALL 121Death Penalty in AmericaLegal Studies 485Fall 2006Death Penalty in AmericaLegal Studies 485Aaron Lorenz Fall 2006121 Gordon Hall Tuesday/Thursday 1:00-2:15545.2647 Bartlett 202Office Hours: Tues/Thurs 12-1 and Wed 2-3 www.umass.edu/legal/[email protected] this day forward, I no longer shall tinker Again, every rogue who criminouslywith the machinery of death. I feel morally and attacks social rights becomes, by hisintellectually obligated simply to concede that wrong, a rebel and a traitor to histhe death penalty experiment has failed. It is fatherland. By contravening its laws,virtually self-evident to me now that no he ceases to be one of its citizens: hecombination of procedural rules or substantive even wages war against it. In suchregulations ever can save the death penalty circumstances, the State and he cannotfrom its inherent constitutional deficiencies. both be saved: one or the other must perish. In killing the criminal, we - Harry Blackmun (1908-1999) destroy not so much a citizen as anformer U.S. Supreme Court Justice enemy. The trial and judgments are proofs that hehas broken the Social While a public opinion poll obviously is Contract, and so is no longer a memberof some assistance in indicating public of the State.acceptance or rejection of a specific penalty, its utility cannot be very great... - Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) People who were fully informed as to Philosopherthe purposes of the death penalty and its liabilities would find the penalty shocking, The evil need to experience the joyofunjust, and unacceptable. cruelty is objectivized, the collective sense of satisfaction in being the cause - Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993) of pain, in having the right to punish former U.S. Supreme Court Justice and to be present at the infliction ofpunishment.- Nicholas Berdyaev (1874-1948PhilosopherThere are few issues more debated in sociolegal circles than the death penalty. For some, the issue revolves around the U.S. Constitution. Others argue that religion controls the topic. Even others turn to philosophy to answer the questions posed by the existence of capital punishment. The debate continues.This course is designed to examine basic ideas about the death penalty. You will learn the history of capital punishment in the United States and analyze empiricaldata. You will also look at various U.S. Supreme Court cases concerning the death penalty and consider moral, political, and legal arguments. The objective of this course is to gain information and knowledge on the deathpenalty. This should result in improved writing and critical thinking skills. By examining both sides of the issue, you should leave this course with the ability to defend your opinion, now entrenched in facts, in a knowledgeable and non-emotional manner. Opinions, while interesting and valuable, must be supported by facts. This course should give you facts on the death penalty and the criminal justice system which will generate, for you, an informed opinion.REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING(1) Quizzes – 20%Four in-class quizzes each worth 5%. There will be NO make-up quizzes.(2) Attendance and participation – 20%There is no substitute for attending class. If you need to miss class, inform me in advance or shortly thereafter. Attending class, taking copious notes, and keeping up with the reading and assignments is imperative. There are no short cuts, so do the work. Class discussions will be the cornerstone of this course. If you are not prepared to speak, get prepared. If you are shy, this will be the time to become morevocal. If you are talkative, this may be the time to listen and learn from others as well. NOTE: If it appears that the class is not keeping up with the assigned reading, additional pop-quizzes will be administered and factored into the participation grade. (3) Research paper – 40%Consists of a 10-15 page paper. Your paper topic must be discussed throughout the semester during both class and/or office hours. In an attempt to avoid writing the paper in the last days of the semester and producing inadequate work, periodic assignments concerning the research paper will be due in intervals.Title, question(s) presented, annotated bibliography – 5%Introduction and paper skeleton/outline– 5%Final paper – 30% (4) Oral presentations/debates – 20%Debate topics will be assigned. Each debate will last approximately 8 minutes. Debates will be one-on-one which means each person will need to deliver about 5 minutes of prepared speech. Debates will be graded on oral presentation skills, persuasiveness, and written work. ALL STUDENTS MUST ATTEND THE LAST TWO WEEKS OF CLASS FOR ALL DEBATES.READING REQUIREMENTSThe Death Penalty in America: Current Controversies, ed. Hugo Adam Bedau, 1997.Available at Food for Thought Books, 106 N. Pleasant Street, Amherst.Reading packet available at Collective Copies, 71 S. Pleasant Street, Amherst.Online readings available at www.umass.edu/legal/LorenzACADEMIC HONESTYAcademic dishonesty in any form will not be tolerated. This means that plagiarism ofany kind will be met with a swift and decisive punishment. If you are unaware of the University policy on plagiarism, you should review it. If you are unaware what entails plagiarism, you should speak with me immediately. Do not devalue your education orthe reputation of the University by caving to the pressure of stress, time, family, or other issues that may arise. It should be made clear to you that anyone caught plagiarizing


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