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Seminar Topical Research Guides: Death Penalty


Choosing a Paper Topic Research Guide
This research guide from the Ross-Blakley Law Library is designed for students who are writing a substantive legal research paper and are looking for guidance on how to begin. The guide details sources for help in selecting a paper topic and offers insight in how to check whether your paper will add new information to the field of law.

Conducting a Preemption Check Research Guide
This research guide details the recommended steps for conducting a preemption check, as well as provides information on and links to a variety of resources for conducting a thorough check.


The reference librarians at the Ross-Blakley Law Library are happy to help you find or navigate research resources. 

Librarians are available 9am-4pm Monday-Thursday and 9am-2pm on Friday by phone or by email.

Reference: (480) 965-7161
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Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law (COL) Students


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.


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, including articles concerning capital punishment.

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.

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. 

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. 


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.

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

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.

CrimProf Blog
Kevin Cole, criminal law and procedure professor at the University of San Diego School of Law, provides commentary on topics including the death penalty and its political landscape.

CRS Reports - Crime Policy provides access to Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports that are specific to criminal justice, including reports on the federal 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, legal and ethical debates, 

National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Blog
This advocacy group discusses current events, upcoming executions, and the history of the punishment.

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 information on criminology and criminal justice, including the death penalty.

Pro Death Penalty
This advocacy group delves into the history of convicted murderers on death row and their victims, and it provides links to information on correctional systems and inmates in each state.


ASU has a number of online and print resources related to the death penalty. Below is a short list of relevant titles from the ASU Library collection and from online resources available to Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law students and faculty. You can search for additional resources in the ASU Library catalog by using subject headings such as Capital Punishment or Death Penalty. Print books available in other ASU libraries may be requested and delivered to you at the law library.

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 Cases (Barry Latzer, 2011)
Tracing the development of U.S. capital punishment through United States Supreme Court decisions.

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.

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)
A scientific and statistical study of capital punishment's effect in preventing capital crimes.

Executing Democracy (Vol. I and Vol. II) (Stephen John Hartnett, 2012)
Examining the debate about capital punishment and how it shaped the development of the United States' political systems from Colonial times to the pre-Civil War era.

Race and the Death Penalty (David P. Keys and R.J. Maratea, 2015)
Arguing that racial disparities and discrimination in the capital punishment system have severe, wide ranging human consequences.