Skip to Main Content

Criminal Law

Primary Authority and Government Resources

Arizona Criminal Court Sentencing Chart
This resource gathers sentencing guidance and related information from 1978 to present.

United States Sentencing Commission Guidelines Manual
This federal resource includes a sentencing table and related information on offenses, circumstances producing sentencing adjustments, victims' rights, and prison alternatives. Also available on Westlaw (login required) and Lexis+ (login required).

Federal Death Penalty
Title 18, Chapter 228 of the United States Code details the federal death penalty law, including factors to determine whether capital punishment is warranted, people excluded from the penalty's scope, and procedures for judicial review. The Justice Department issues regulations regarding the Federal Death Penalty Act.

Arizona Death Penalty
Title 13, Chapter 7.1 of the Arizona Revised Statutes concerns capital sentencing, including aggravating and mitigating factors and automatic state Supreme Court Review of death sentences.

Texts and Treatises

ASU Library One Search
To see a complete list of materials available in the library related to criminal sentencing, search the catalog for SUBJECT:  Criminal Procedure -- United States or SUBJECT:  Sentences (Criminal Procedure). Otherwise, peruse the list below.

Federal Sentencing Law & Practice (Thomas W. Hutchison et al., 2023)
This treatise assists judges and attorneys in understanding and applying sentencing guidelines. The first nine chapters annotate the United States Sentencing Commission's Guidelines Manual. Chapter 10 deals with departures from the guidelines, and Chapter 11 deals with appellate review of sentences. In addition to the print volume located in the Law Library, this treatise is available on Westlaw (login required).

Law of Sentencing (Arthur W. Campbell, 2023)
This treatise focuses and clarifies the recurring sentencing issues confronted by courts, counsel, and corrections officials and covers issues involving sentencing rationales, alternatives, and systems. The author also addresses types of sentencing, including probation sentences and death sentences, and explores constitutional considerations, basic sentencing principles, and judicial sentencing review (login required).

ASU Library One Search
To see a complete list of materials available in the library related to the death penalty, search the catalog for SUBJECT:  Capital Punishment or SUBJECT:  Death Penalty. Otherwise, peruse the list below.

Against Capital Punishment (Benjamin S. Yost, 2019)
Rather than argue against the immorality of putting condemned prisoners to death, the author contends that the threat of irreversible, catastrophic mistakes that preclude any remedy makes the death penalty inappropriate.

Against the Death Penalty (Stephen G. Breyer, 2016)
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer argues that capital punishment violates the Constitution as cruel and unusual punishment.

Death Penalty in a Nutshell (Victor L. Streib et al., 2017)
Traces the development of U.S. death penalty law including its longstanding political debate, and details substantive and procedural issues particular to capital criminal cases. Also available on West Academic (login required).

Death Penalty and the Victims (United Nations, 2016)
Exploring the issue from the perspective of surviving relatives of murder victims as well as family members who lost loved ones to executions that violated human rights.

Deterrence and the Death Penalty (National Research Council, 2012)
This eBook, from ProQuest Ebook Central, investigates whether the available evidence provides a scientific basis for answering questions of if and how the death penalty affects homicide rates.

Executing Democracy:  Volume One (Stephen John Hartnett, 2012)
This eBook, from ProQuest Ebook Central, offers a lively historical overview of how crime, violence, and capital punishment influenced the settling of the New World, the American Revolution, and the frantic post-war political scrambling to establish norms that would govern the new republic.

Executing Democracy:  Volume Two (Stephen John Hartnett, 2012)
This eBook, from ProQuest Ebook Central, incorporates a wide range of sources, including political poems, newspaper editorials, and warring manifestos, and highlights a variety of perspectives, thus demonstrating the centrality of public debates about crime, violence, and punishment to the history of American democracy.

Race and the Death Penalty (David P. Keys and R. J. Maratea, 2015)
This eBook, from ProQuest Ebook Central, argues that racial disparities and discrimination in the capital punishment system have severe, wide ranging human consequences.

Web Resources

Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide
This center, affiliated with Cornell Law School, provides information about countries' posture on the death penalty, along with a blog and information about efforts to oppose capital punishment.

Criminal Justice Abstracts with Full Text (available on campus or remotely with ASURITE)
This resource includes bibliographic records and full text of journals related to criminal justice and criminology. Subjects covered include:  corrections, prisons, criminal investigations, forensic sciences, investigation, substance abuse, addiction, probation, and parole.

Google Scholar
Allows searching of multidisciplinary scholarly literature including articles, papers, books, abstracts, and technical reports from a wide variety of resources.

HeinOnline - Criminal Justice Law Reviews and Journals (available on campus or remotely with ASURITE)
HeinOnline provides full-text, image-based PDF access to 78 law reviews and journals that publish content specific to criminal justice.

HeinOnline – History of Capital Punishment (available on campus or through ASURITE)
This resource gathers books and academic articles, government hearings, audio and video files, graphics, and artifacts concerning the death penalty.

Lexis - Criminal Law and Procedure Practice Area (Lexis password required)
This Lexis page compiles resources specific to criminal law and criminal procedure including cases, statutes, regulations, secondary sources, and news.

National Criminal Justice Reference Service
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice, the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) is a federally funded resource offering reports, journals, statistics and other information on subjects relating to criminology, criminal justice, substance abuse, corrections, policy, crime victims, and program development worldwide.

Westlaw - Criminal Law Practice Area (Westlaw password required)
This Westlaw page provides access to a variety of materials specific to criminal law, including cases, statutes, regulations, secondary sources, and news.

Bloomberg Law:  White Collar & Criminal Law News
This news service from Bloomberg Law (login required) provides news and analysis related to criminal law. Content can be filtered for sentencing-specific articles.

CrimProf Blog
This blog, part of the Law Professor Blog Network, is edited by Kevin Cole, a criminal law and procedure professor at the University of San Diego School of Law.

World Coalition Against the Death Penalty
This advocacy group discusses current events, upcoming executions, and the history of the punishment.

Sentencing Law and Policy Blog
Another Law Professor Blog Network blog, this resource is edited by Douglas Berman, a law professor at Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University; Professor Berman's scholarship and teaching focus on criminal law and criminal sentencing.

Arizona Death Penalty History
This state government website details the history of capital punishment in Arizona. The page Arizona Death Row includes information on inmates currently sentenced to be executed.

Bureau of Justice Statistics
The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) collects, analyzes, publishes, and disseminates information on crime, criminal offenders, victims of crime, and the operation of justice systems at all levels of government.

Criminal Justice Legal Foundation
This group advocates for swift and certain punishment for criminals by filing amicus curiae briefs and publicizing information on cases, including many that involve the death penalty.

The Death Penalty Information Center
The Death Penalty Information Center is a national non-profit organization serving the media and the public with analysis and information on issues concerning capital punishment. The Center also hosts podcast discussions with experts on death penalty news and legal and ethical debates.

National Archive of Criminal Justice Data
The National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD) archives and disseminates data on crime and justice for secondary analysis. It is located at the University of Michigan and is sponsored by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention of the United States Department of Justice.

National Center for State Courts - Sentencing Resource Guide
The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) is an independent, nonprofit organization that works for the betterment of state courts. The NCSC Sentencing Resource Guide provides information on and links to many resources related to sentencing at the state and federal level.

National Conference of State Legislatures - Sentencing and Corrections Significant Enactment Database
The National Conference of State Legislatures has developed, in partnership with Arnold Ventures, a database of significant state law enactments related to sentencing and corrections.

United States Sentencing Commission
The U.S. Sentencing Commission (USSC) is a bipartisan, independent agency located in the judicial branch of government, created by Congress in 1984 to reduce sentencing disparities and promote transparency and proportionality in sentencing. The Commission offers a wide variety of information and resources on its website, a few of which are highlighted below.

  • USSC Research Reports
    The USSC periodically publishes research reports that focus on a single area of the federal criminal justice system. They often include a summary of the historical development of specific statutes and corresponding Sentencing Guidelines and an overview of statistics on the specific issue. This page provides access to these research reports back to 1990.
  • USSC Interactive Sourcebook of Federal Sentencing Statistics
    The Interactive Sourcebook allows users to re-create tables and information from the Commission's printed Sourcebooks of sentencing statistics in a number of ways and customize the static tables and figures presented in the printed Sourcebook.