The Death Penalty Project in association with Doughty Street Chambers, has today published Sentencing in Capital Cases, by Joe Middleton and Amanda Clift-Matthews, with Edward Fitzgerald QC. The publication provides practical assistance to members of the judiciary, defence lawyers, prosecutors and others working on capital cases on the sentencing principles and procedures that have been adopted in common law jurisdictions following the abolition of the mandatory death penalty.
Whether the death penalty is mandatory or discretionary, it is impossible to ensure that it is administered without cruelty, arbitrariness, discrimination or error. However, pending complete abolition, if the death penalty is to be imposed, it is essential that it is applied restrictively and in accordance with international human rights law.
With reference to comparative international practice, the book provides guidance on the application of key legal tests, constitutional safeguards and relevant factors to be considered in the sentencing exercise to assist legal professionals in navigating a discretionary sentencing system. The authors provide expert critique and analysis throughout, drawing on their extensive experience of criminal and constitutional death penalty appeals to raise contemporary legal issues and questions.
The resource is timely, the past year has seen courts in two more countries, Kenya and Barbados, find the mandatory death penalty unconstitutional. Used in conjunction with training programmes delivered by The Death Penalty Project, this book will provide vital assistance to those tasked with implementing, interpreting and enforcing the new law.
“The book is a wonderful asset for all those in the common law world who must grapple with the problems involved in discretionary capital sentencing”
– The Honourable Mr Justice Adrian Saunders, President of the Caribbean Court of Justice.
Amanda Clift-Matthews, Legal Director of The Death Penalty Project says:
In our work representing death row prisoners around the world, we see countless individuals who have been sentenced to death in violation of international and domestic legal safeguards. While we ultimately believe that no person should face the death penalty, there is a critical need for practical assistance to help address gaps in the implementation of human rights and guard against any misinterpretation of the law.
Notes to Editors
The Death Penalty Project, in association with Doughty Street Chambers, published Sentencing in Capital Cases, by Joe Middleton and Amanda Clift-Matthews with Edward Fitzgerald QC. The book updates A Guide to Sentencing in Capital Cases by Edward Fitzgerald QC and Keir Starmer QC (2007), published by The Death Penalty Project.
The publication was made possible by a grant to The Death Penalty Project from the Magna Carta Fund of the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office.