Columbia University Press Release: NEW STUDY EXAMINES WHY THERE IS ERROR IN DEATH PENALTY CASES
IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK
Jerome L. Greene Hall, 435 West 116th Street, New York, NY 10027
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday, February 11, 2002 Contact: Laura Burstein, Fenton Communications, (202) 822-5200 ext. 222
Hayley Miller, Columbia University Law School Public Information Officer, (212) 854-2604
NEW STUDY EXAMINES WHY
THERE IS ERROR IN DEATH PENALTY CASES
Columbia University Law School Researchers
Release A Broken System, Part II
Study Available on Web at www2.law.columbia.edu/brokensystem2
In June 2000, Columbia University professors James S. Liebman and Jeffrey Fagan, and researcher Valerie West released the landmark study, "A Broken System, Error Rates in Capital Cases 1973-1995." The report found that 68% of all death verdicts imposed and fully reviewed during the 1973-1995 study period were reversed by the courts due to serious, reversible error. This study had enormous impact on the death penalty debate amidst heightened national concern by Congress, state legislatures, the public - even the Supreme Court - about the reliability of the capital punishment system.
Now the highly anticipated follow up study, "A Broken System, Part II: Why There is So Much Error in Capital Cases, and What Can be Done About It," examines the causes of error in capital cases.
The findings of "A Broken System, Part II" are based on the most comprehensive set of data ever assembled on factors related to capital error ? or any kind of trial error. The studyís authors used a variety of statistical techniques, including multiple regression analysis, to identify factors explaining why some places have more capital error than others and why some death verdicts are reversed on federal review and others are not. The study examined over 150 potentially explanatory circumstances based on thousands of items of data about capital reversal rates over time and across the country.
The studyís authors are: James S. Liebman, Simon H. Rifkind Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, who has written extensively on capital punishment, is the senior author of the leading American treatise on habeas corpus law, the author of numerous articles on the topic, and has argued four major capital and habeas corpus appeals in the United States Supreme Court; Jeffrey Fagan, Professor of Law and Public Health at Columbia University; Andrew Gelman, Professor of Statistics and Director of the Quantitative Methods in Social Sciences Program at Columbia University; Valerie West, Research Associate at the Columbia Law School completing her doctorate at New York University's Department of Sociology; Garth Davies, Ph.D. # # #
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