Simon H. Rifkind Professor of Law at Columbia University School of Law
Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Should the Death Penalty Be Allowed?"
"In some states, costs and frustration levels associated with the death penalty may be so high that a more reliable solution to the problem of chronic capital error and its attendant costs and risks may be demanded. In those places, one option is to stop using the death penalty altogether. Another option is to limit its use to a small number of offenses as to which there is close to a social consensus that only the death penalty will serve. The state and case level results underlying our major finding reveal the wisdom of these views [the death penalty should be reserved for the worst of the worst], and the need to enforce the 'worst of the worst' principle strictly in order to bring serious capital error under some sort of control. Now that a range of options are available to respond to the high levels of error in capital sentencing, it is time to either fix it or end it."
"Getting to Death: Fairness and Efficiency in the Processing and Conclusion of Death Penalty Cases After Furman, Final Technical Report," National Institute of Justice, Feb. 2004
Experts Individuals with MDs, JDs, PhDs, or equivalent advanced degrees in fields relevant to death penalty issues. Also top-level government officials (such as foreign leaders, US presidents, Founding Fathers, Supreme Court Justices, members of legislative bodies, cabinet members, military leaders, etc.) with positions relevant to death penalty issues.
Involvement and Affiliations:
Simon H. Rifkind Professor of Law, Columbia University School of Law, 1998-present
Member, Executive Committee, Columbia Human Rights Institute, 1999-present
Recipient, Champion of Justice Award, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, 2002
Founder and Executive Director, Death Penalty Dialogue Project, 2000-2002
Co-chair and then Chair, Appointments Committee, Columbia Law School, 1997-2000
Vice Dean, Columbia Law School, 1991-1992
Associate Professor of Law, Columbia Law School, 1986-1990
Adjunct Faculty, Law, Columbia University, 1985-1986
Assistant counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, 1979-1985
Law Clerk to Justice John Paul Stevens, US Supreme Court, 1978-1979
Law Clerk to Judge Carl McGowan, US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, 1977-1978
President, Stanford Law Review, 1976-1977
JD, Stanford Law School, 1977
BA, summa cum laude, American History, Yale College, 1974
Cowritten with Andrew Gelman, Alexander Kiss, and Valerie West, "A Broken System: The Persistent Patterns of Reversals of Death Sentences in the United States," Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, July 2004
Cowritten with Jeff Fagan, Valerie West, Andrew Gelman, Alexander Kiss, and Garth Davies, "Getting to Death: Fairness and Efficiency in the Processing and Conclusion of Death Penalty Cases After Furman, Final Technical Report," National Institute of Justice, Feb. 2004