Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis


Criminology and Criminal Justice

First Advisor

John Burrow


The primary goal of this study was to examine the legal and extralegal factors that lead to positive outcome Strickland claims. Specifically, the initial purpose of the research was to test whether a defendant’s race affects his/her likelihood of receiving a positive outcome Strickland claim in the South. Prior literature has indicated that black defendants are more likely to receive the death penalty than white defendants, but this study did not find that race is a significant factor in determining the likelihood of a positive outcome Strickland claim in Southern circuits. Of the 207 Strickland claims studied across the Fourth, Fifth, and Eleventh Circuits, there were only eight cases of positive case outcomes. All eight of the favorable outcomes came from the Fifth and Eleventh Circuits, with no positive case outcomes coming out of the Fourth Circuit. When testing all relevant legal and extralegal factors in each case, there were no significant predictors of positive outcome Strickland claims.

Included in

Criminology Commons