Victor L. Streib Papers, 1908-2012, Undated, bulk 1978-2007
- Streib, Victor L.
- The Victor Streib Papers contain research materials and legal case files on the death penalty in the United States with a focus on how it has been applied to women and juveniles.
- 22.8 cubic ft.
- English and English
- Preferred citation:
- Preferred citation for this material is as follows: and Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Victor L. Streib Papers, 1908-2012, Undated. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York.
Access and Use
- Conditions Governing Access:
Access to this record group is unrestricted.
The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
- Scope and Content:
The Victor Streib Papers contain research materials on the death penalty in the United States with a focus on how it has been applied to women and juveniles.
The collection contains case files, papers, journal articles and other written materials about juveniles and women who were sentenced to death. There are a number of topical articles about historic and modern death penalty cases written by Victor Streib and others. Some of these articles are scholarly in nature, and some were written for general audiences. The general interest materials include articles in magazines about particular death penalty cases that Streib was either working on or interested in, as well as publications that exist to chronicle the state of death penalty cases in the United States.
The bulk of the collection consists of materials from Streib's case work from the mid-1980s to the mid-2000s, when he was working as counsel to a handful of death penalty cases, and researching the history of how that punishment has been applied in the United States.
The case files in his research collection are part of an attempt, in conjunction with the Watt Espy Papers, to document all of the cases of state-sponsored executions of women and juveniles in the United States. Some of the files are cross-referenced with Espy's notecards. The collection includes case files from Streib's most notable cases as a lawyer, including Paula Cooper of Indiana, Wayne Thompson of Oklahoma, and Christopher Simmons of Missouri, which led to a groundbreaking Supreme Court decision to abolish the death penalty for juveniles.
- Biographical / Historical:
Victor L. Streib was born in 1941 in Marion, Indiana. He received his undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering from Auburn University in 1966 and then served in the Air Force. He studied law at Indiana University and received his J.D. in 1970. That same year, he joined the Indiana Bar Association, and later the U.S. Supreme Court Bar Association in 1987. He began his teaching career in 1971 at Indiana University's Department of Forensic Studies (now Criminal Justice.) He taught as a law professor at the New England School of Law, the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, and in 1996 became Dean of the Claude W. Pettit College of Law at Ohio Northern University, retiring from that position in 2012.
In the course of his academic career, Streib authored over 300 articles, papers, books and chapters. His research on juveniles and women who were sentenced to death has been cited dozens of times in United States Supreme Court cases. One of Streib's books, The Fairer Death, has shed light on the biases against women in capital cases, concluding that capital punishment is arbitrarily applied and not necessarily for the most heinous crimes. In addition to writing specifically about women and juveniles in death penalty cases, he has argued that factors such as race, mental deficiency, poor legal representation, and defendants who do not conform to gender expectations have more impact on who is sentenced to death than the facts of the crime.
In addition to his scholarly work, Streib has served as counsel and co-counsel on capital cases, including notable cases he has argued in front of the United States Supreme Court. These landmark cases include his service as appellate counsel for the 1988 case Thompson v. Oklahoma , which resulted in the Court's decision to prohibit executing persons who were under sixteen at the time of their crime. He also served as counsel for Roper v. Simmons , the 2005 Supreme Court ruling that decided executing persons younger than age eighteen at the time of their crime is a violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, and therefore unconstitutional.
As a conscientious objector, Streib has worked to change the culture of violence in America, especially the way that the death penalty's focus has been on vengeance rather than rehabilitation. His writing is objective and measured, and his research on the inconsistencies of capital punishment has protected an unknown number of juveniles from being sentenced to death since 2005. Much of Streibs scholarship has been aided by Watt Espys collection of death penalty files, and Streib has stated that his work is credited to "standing on the shoulders of Watt Espy." Some of Streibs papers were co-authored with his wife, Dr. Lynn Sametz. They have now retired to North Carolina, where they live with their pets, Charles Duke of Ada (a dog), Pywacket (a cat), Atticus (a cat), and Scout (a dog).
- Acquisition information:
All items in the Victor L. Streib Papers were donated by Victor L. Streib in 2012.
The archivist retained Series 1's original order as a reference collection. Each sub-series is filed alphabetically by state, (including Washington, D.C., federal, and Puerto Rico) and then alphabetically by the last name of the subject within the state. In the case of slaves or servants with only a first name, those files are alphabetical by first name, although they are sometimes listed on the index cards within the file under the last name of the slave owner. In the cases where the name is not known, the files are alphabetized by the index heading on the card.
Series 2 is organized alphabetically by title.
- Processing information:
Processed in 2015 by Carolyn Bennett.
- Death Penalty
United States. Supreme Court.
Capital Punishment United States
Children Legal Status, Laws, etc.
Female Offenders Case Studies
Women Death Row Inmates United States Case Studies
Executions -- 1608-2004
Capital punishment--Moral and ethical aspects
Criminal court records
- Streib, Victor L.