Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Political Science and University Honors


Political Science

First Advisor

Phil Keisling


Capital punishment -- Political aspects -- United States, Capital punishment -- Cases, Clemency, Governors -- United States -- Powers and duties, Executive power




Capital punishment is a controversial sentence reserved for the worst of the worst crimes. State citizens and legislatures have addressed the punishment of the death penalty in different ways. Governors are also granted the power to issue clemency for inmates in the criminal justice system. This report investigates the overlapping relationship between a governor's ability to affect the death penalty through issuing acts of clemency. Four Governors in the United States have issued death penalty moratoriums in the recent years: Governor Kitzhaber from Oregon in 2011, Governor Hickenlooper from Colorado in 2013, Governor Jay Inslee from Washington in 2014, and Governor Tom Wolf from Pennsylvania in 2015. This analysis will investigate what constitutionally allows governors to issue these sweeping moratoriums in order to understand the scope of gubernatorial clemency power.

Persistent Identifier