Last updated on: 8/15/2008 | Author:

Robert Weisberg, JD, PhD Biography

Edwin E. Huddleson, Jr. Professor of Law at Stanford University Law School
Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Should the Death Penalty Be Legal?"

“Social science has long played a role in examining the efficacy and fairness of the death penalty. Empirical studies of the deterrent effect of capital punishment were cited by the Supreme Court in its landmark cases in the 1970s; most notable was the 1975 Isaac Ehrlich study, which used multivariate regression analysis and purported to show a significant marginal deterrent effect over life imprisonment, but which was soon roundly criticized for methodological flaws.

Decades later, new econometric studies have emerged, using panel data techniques, that report striking findings of marginal deterrence, even up to 18 lives saved per execution. Yet the cycle of debate continues, as these new studies face criticism for omitting key potential variables and for the potential distorting effect of one anomalously high-executing state (Texas). Meanwhile, other empiricists, relying mainly on survey questionnaires, have taken a fresh look at the human dynamics of death penalty trials, especially the attitudes and personal background factors that influence capital jurors.”

“The Death Penalty Meets Social Science: Deterrence and Jury Behavior Under New Scrutiny,” Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Dec. 2005

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Edwin E. Huddleson, Jr. Professor of Law, Stanford University Law School, 1981-present
  • Director, Stanford Criminal Justice Center
  • Appellate Attorney for Capital Cases, Appointed by Supreme Court of
    California, 1986-present
  • Recipient, John Bingham Hurlbut Award for Excellence in Teaching, Stanford University, 1985 and 2005
  • Consulting Attorney, NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, Inc.
    (death penalty litigation in federal courts), 1981-1986
  • Law Clerk to the Judge Potter Stewart, Associate Justice of the Supreme
    Court of the United States, 1980-1981
  • Law Clerk to the Hon. J. Skelly Wright, Chief Judge, United States Court of
    Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, 1979-1980
  • JD, Stanford Law School, 1979
  • PhD, English, Harvard University, 1971
  • MA, English, Harvard University, 1967
  • BA, City College of New York, 1966
  • Has run several marathons