Comparative Capital Punishment
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Comparative Capital Punishment

Edited by Carol S. Steiker and Jordan M. Steiker

Comparative Capital Punishment offers a set of in-depth, critical and comparative contributions addressing death practices around the world. Despite the dramatic decline of the death penalty in the last half of the twentieth century, capital punishment remains in force in a substantial number of countries around the globe. This research handbook explores both the forces behind the stunning recent rejection of the death penalty, as well as the changing shape of capital practices where it is retained. The expert contributors address the social, political, economic, and cultural influences on both retention and abolition of the death penalty and consider the distinctive possibilities and pathways to worldwide abolition.
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Chapter 5: An unfair fight for justice: legal representation of persons facing the death penalty

Sandra L. Babcock


This chapter describes the challenges facing capital defense lawyers around the world. It also provides an overview of judicial responses to ineffective legal representation in death penalty cases. While courts in a handful of countries have overturned convictions based on trial counsel’s errors, most have taken a hands-off approach. The few courts that have quashed death sentences as a remedy for counsel’s flawed representation have emphasized the exceptional nature of such remedies. Given the judiciary’s unwillingness to ensure that capital defendants receive competent and well-funded lawyers, the author concludes that national bar associations should play an active role in setting minimum standards for capital defense representation.

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