The United States Supreme Court has denied certiorari for the final time. All state and federal appeals have been exhausted. The execution date has been set. There is only one thing that can save the death row inmate from the ultimate punishment: the proverbial call from the governor and a grant of executive clemency.
This scene, although a veritable Hollywood cliche, is being played out in prisons across America with increasing frequency. As of July 1, 1998, there were 3,474 men and women on death row in America. In 1996, with the passage of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”) Congress sought to “streamline” the federal habeas process and expedite execu-tions. In the words of one commentator, AEDPA has “eviscerated . . . the once great Writ [of Habeas Corpus].” The changes wrought by AEDPA have created a federal habeas system in which “results are more important than process,  finality is more important than fairness, [and] it is more important to get on with executions than [to] determin[e] whether convictions and sentences were fairly and reliably obtained.” The current system “facilitates executions, but it does so only at the price of being powerless to correct injustice in many instances.”
In this environment, the role that executive clemency must play in the realm of capital punishment is becoming increasingly important. Initially, this article will briefly examine the statutory clemency schemes currently in use in states that have the death penalty. Next, it will discuss the applicability of the Due Process Clause to capital clemency proceedings. Finally, it will seek to determine exactly what process is due in capital clemency proceedings.
- due process,
- death penalty,
- capital punishment,
- ohio adult parole authority
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/brian_clarke/2/