Mental Illness and Capital Punishment: A Case Anaysis

Scott McClelland, Indiana University

This paper will explore how the United States Supreme Court has addressed mental illness and capital punishment over the past thirty-five years. How do courts assure that mental illness is appropriately considered in death penalty determinations? How have these mandates, in theory and in practice, changed and developed over time? Does this provide any insight as to where the Court is heading? By using case analysis techniques the paper will explore how individual justices may have developed unique angles to these questions and what impact new Supreme Court appointees may have on future case law that addresses mental illness in capital punishment procedure.

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Updated 05/20/2006