The Law School Magazine The New York University School of Law

Notes and Renderings

An Enduring Claim

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Jeremy RootLast December, Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens cited a 2002 NYU Law student article in his dissent in Johnson v. Bredesen, an application for a stay of execution and petition for a writ of certiorari. At issue was whether spending nearly three decades on death row constitutes cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment. Stevens, arguing it did, cited “Cruel and Unusual Punishment: A Reconsideration of the Lackey Claim” from the NYU Review of Law & Social Change, in which Jeremy Root ’02 provided statistical evidence of error rates in capital trials.

Now an associate at Stinson Morrison Hecker in Jefferson City, Missouri, Root continues to pursue pro bono the Eighth Amendment’s application to lengthy delays that death-row inmates experience. “I still believe that the claim draws on a lot of values that are cherished in our constitutional system,” Root says, “but so far, very few courts have been willing to grant relief on that basis.”

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