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NCJ Number: 113642 Find in a Library
Title: Unpleasant Facts: The Supreme Court's Response to Empirical Research on Capital Punishment (From Challenging Capital Punishment: Legal and Social Science Approaches, P 177-244, 1988, Kenneth C Haas and James A Inciardi, eds. -- See NCJ-113635)
Author(s): P C Ellsworth
Date Published: 1988
Page Count: 68
Sponsoring Agency: James McKeen Cattell Fund
New York, NY 10027
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Chicago, IL 60603
Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Sale Source: Sage Publications, Inc
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper assesses the U.S. Supreme Court's response to three empirical issues central to the capital punishment debate: deterrence, racial discrimination, and the fairness of capital juries.
Abstract: In all three areas, the majority of the justices have been unwilling to acknowledge the implications of social science studies and the relevance of these studies to fundamental constitutional questions. In Lockhart v. McCree (1986), the Court considered the constitutionality of the removal for cause, prior to the guilt adjudication phase of a capital trial, of all prospective jurors whose opposition to capital punishment was strong enough to prevent or impair their willingness to impose the death penalty. Many legal scholars have advocated the use of different juries in the two phases of capital trials. In upholding the constitutionality of death-qualified juries for both phases of a capital case, most members of the Court indicate they may be unable or unwilling to understand and apply social science research in their decisionmaking. 9 notes, 31 references.
Main Term(s): Capital punishment
Index Term(s): Deterrence effectiveness; Juries; Racial discrimination; Research uses in policymaking; US Supreme Court decisions
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