Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Psychology and University Honors
Capital punishment -- Oregon, Mentally ill -- Oregon, Insanity (Law) -- Oregon, Administration of criminal justice -- Oregon, Insanity defense
There is emerging awareness on the potential arbitrariness and unconstitutionality of executing persons with mental illness. Most states with current death penalty laws have little to no protection for severely mentally ill defendants during capital trials. The present paper looked at the effectiveness of sentencing statutes serving the purpose of protecting defendants with severe mental illness in the state of Oregon. Through a careful meta-analysis this research focused on determining how mental illness plays into death penalty decisions and if Oregon’s Guilty Except for Insanity defense provides sufficient protection. Furthermore, the question of mental illness as a mitigating factor was explored as well. Attention was given to the current death row population in Oregon which included 24 inmates. Findings of this research concluded that while Oregon’s current laws do provide some level of protection the laws are potentially too broad leading to inconsistent applications. The paper provides a discussion on the limitations of these findings and suggested solutions to address the issues highlighted.
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Csikos, Mirtill E., "The Effects of Mental Illness on Capital Sentencing in the State of Oregon" (2021). University Honors Theses. Paper 1130.