University at Albany, State University of New York
  Admissions   Academics   Research   IT Services   Libraries   Athletics  
News Home Page
News Releases
Faculty Experts
Campus Update
Campus Stock Photos
Media Relations Office

News Website



UAlbany's Capital Punishment Research Initiative Adds Distinguished Scholars to Advisory Board

Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 5, 2007) -- The University at Albany's Capital Punishment Research Initiative (CPRI) has announced the addition of three nationally-renowned scholars to its Advisory Board: David C. Baldus, Jeffrey Fagan, and Eric M. Freedman.

The Capital Punishment Research Initiative, part of the Hindelang Criminal Justice Research Center at UAlbany's School of Criminal Justice, was founded in the late 1990s with three primary goals:  (1) to build and maintain a national archive for historical documents and data on the death penalty; (2) to plan and conduct basic and policy related research on capital punishment; and (3) to encourage scholarship, conduct graduate and undergraduate training, and disseminate scientifically grounded knowledge about the ultimate penal sanction.

"These three individuals have produced some of this nation's most articulate, insightful, and reasoned legal and social science scholarship on the death penalty during their careers," said Charles S. Lanier, director of CPRI. "Their willingness to serve on the Advisory Board is another wonderful harbinger for recognizing the CPRI as the nation's leading center for the study of capital punishment."

DAVID C. BALDUS is the Joseph B. Tye professor of law at the University of Iowa College of Law where he has taught courses on criminal law, capital punishment, and statistical methods for lawyers. He is co-author of Statistical Proof of Discrimination (1980), Equal Justice and the Death Penalty (1990) and numerous articles on capital punishment. He has conducted empirical studies of capital charging and sentencing in Georgia, Colorado, New Jersey, Nebraska, Maryland, and Philadelphia. His Georgia research conducted with George Woodworth, professor of statistics at the University of Iowa, formed the basis of petitioner's claims in McCleskey v. Kemp (1987).

In the late 1980's and early 1990's, Baldus served the New Jersey Supreme Court as a special master for proportionality review in death sentence cases. In that capacity, he helped the New Jersey court establish the empirically based system of comparative proportionality review that it uses in its review of death sentences for evidence of comparative excessiveness and race discrimination.

Since 1995, Baldus and Woodworth, in cooperation with David Zuckerman of the Defender Association of Philadelphia, have conducted extensive empirical studies of the Philadelphia death sentencing system. One publication from this research focuses on evidence of racial discrimination in the use of peremptory challenges in 317 capital cases tried in Philadelphia between 1981 and 1997. The results of this research have been used in support of numerous Batson v. Kentucky (1986) claims presented by defendants in Philadelphia capital cases.

JEFFREY FAGAN is a professor of law and public health at Columbia University, where his research and scholarship focuses on crime, law and social policy. His current and recent research examines capital punishment, racial profiling, social contagion of violence, legal socialization of adolescents, the social geography of domestic violence, the jurisprudence of adolescent crime, drug control policy, and perceived legitimacy of the criminal law. He is a member of the National Consortium on Violence Research, the Incarceration Working Group of the Russell Sage Foundation, and the Working Group on Legitimacy and the Criminal Law of the Russell Sage Foundation. He recently completed a six year term on the Committee on Law and Justice of the National Academy of Science, and served as the Committee's Vice Chair for the last two years. From 1996-2006, he was a member of the MacArthur Foundation's Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice.

From 2002 to 2005, Fagan received an Investigator Award in Health Policy Research from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He was a Soros Senior Justice Fellow for 2005-06. From 1994 to 1998, he served on the standing peer review panel for violence research at the National Institute for Mental Health. He is past Editor of the Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, and serves on the editorial boards of several journals on criminology and law. He received the Bruce Stone Award from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. He is an elected Fellow of the American Society of Criminology. He has served as Executive Counselor on the Boards of both the American Society of Criminology and the Crime and Deviance Section of the American Sociological Association.

ERIC M. FREEDMAN is the Maurice A. Deane Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Law at Hofstra Law School. Freedman serves as the Reporter for the American Bar Association's Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Defense Counsel in Death Penalty Cases (2d ed., 2003). He is the author of Habeas Corpus: Rethinking the Great Writ of Liberty (NYU Press, 2002), and numerous articles for scholarly and general publications concerning capital punishment, habeas corpus and related subjects. In 2004, the American Association on Mental Retardation presented Freedman with its Dybwad Humanitarian Award for his efforts on behalf of Earl Washington, Jr., a mentally disabled man who was the first person ever released from Death Row in Virginia on the grounds of innocence.

These renowned scholars join the existing Advisory Board comprised of leading death penalty scholars and researchers. Board members include Hugo Adam Bedau, Tufts University (Emeritus); William J. Bowers, Capital Punishment Research Initiative, University at Albany; Richard Dieter, Executive Director, Death Penalty Information Center; Michael L. Radelet, University of Colorado at Boulder, and Margaret Vandiver, The University of Memphis. Some board members have donated their extensive work on capital punishment to the National Death Penalty Archive, and plan to solicit similar contributions from other leading figures in death penalty research and scholarship from around the nation.

CPRI is an outgrowth of the commitment to graduate and undergraduate training and scholarship of Lanier and James R. Acker at the School of Criminal Justice, University at Albany. At the core of the CPRI's early development are two major publishing commitments undertaken by Acker and Lanier: (1) a series of 12 articles in the Criminal Law Bulletin (1993-2000) that review and analyze the nature and contours of death penalty law as it has developed on a state by state basis since the U.S Supreme Court authorized a return to capital punishment in 1976, and (2) (with Professor Robert Bohm of the University of Central Florida) an edited volume entitled America's Experiment With Capital Punishment: Reflections on the Past, Present, and Future of the Ultimate Penal Sanction (Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press; 1998 & 2003) containing 23 chapters on topics of research and policy relevance authored by the nation's leading experts in these fields. This book is recognized as a foremost source of expertise in these areas, and is used as a text for advanced graduate training on capital punishment.

Since its inception in the late 1990s, more than 50 graduate and undergraduate students have been involved with CPRI support activities and research projects. Starting in 1999, four doctoral dissertations focusing on the death penalty have been competed at the School. Five doctoral students currently are in various stages of completion of their dissertation research involving the death penalty. The degree of interest in this topic at the School of Criminal Justice is significant, and helps explain why the CPRI is well poised to engage in extensive study of the ultimate sanction, and to undertake the archival and related projects discussed below.

CPRI has several archival and research projects of national scope underway, and others in the planning stage. The projects presently underway include: (1) the National Death Penalty Archive; (2) the Abolitionist Oral History Project (AOHP); (3) several stages of the Capital Jury Project (CJP1-3); and (4) Clemency Petitions as a Key to Wrongful Executions. These projects all involve collaboration with scholars from other universities. Two additional scholarly research efforts, involving personnel at both the School of Criminal Justice in Albany and other universities, are under development: (5) a Study of the Conditions of Incarceration on State and Federal Death Rows, and (6) research on the Role of Punishment for Surviving Family Members of Murder Victims.

The Capital Punishment Research Initiative is an independent, nonprofit national center dedicated to objective, scholarly research and data collection on the death penalty and serves as a resource for public policy decision-makers, researchers, litigators, and others interested in the death penalty. Governed by a distinguished board of directors and funded through the financial support of individuals, foundations, organizations, law firms, and private and public grants, CPRI is a 501(c) 3 charitable organization and all contributions are tax deductible. For information about the CPRI or to make a contribution, contact Dr. Charles Lanier at, or call (518) 442-5231.

Ranked as the No. 2 program in the nation, UAlbany's School of Criminal Justice examines the political, economic and cultural patterns that shape definitions of crime and influence policy. Graduates find opportunities in the expanding academic field of criminal justice research and teaching, all the operating agencies of criminal justice, in addition to the many private and non-profit organizations which provide services or make policy recommendations.

The University at Albany's broad mission of excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, research and public service engages 17,000 diverse students in nine schools and colleges, and an honors college. For more information about this internationally ranked institution, visit theUniversity at Albany. Visit UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts.

Please send questions or comments about the UAlbany News site to: