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NCJ Number: 148430 Find in a Library
Title: Life or Death Decisions: An Analysis of Capital Jury Decision Making Under the Special Issues Sentencing Framework
Journal: Law and Human Behavior  Volume:18  Issue:2  Dated:(April 1994)  Pages:151-170
Author(s): S Costanzo; M Costanzo
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 20
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Data were obtained from extensive interviews with 27 jurors who served on capital murder trials to examine juror perspectives on the purpose and importance of the penalty trial, the organization and mechanics of the penalty deliberation, the effect of sentencing instructions on the deliberation process, the way in which jurors view their responsibilities, the importance of the possibility of parole in determining the sentence, and the stress associated with capital jury service.
Abstract: The findings showed that jurors relied heavily on sentencing instruction to guide their penalty decisionmaking and to determine their responsibilities. Future dangerousness of the defendant and the possibility of parole were critical factors in the decision between imprisonment and the death penalty. While jurors found their service to be stressful, they believed that sentencing decisions in capital cases should be made by a jury. The experience of these jurors raise a variety of legal and psychological issues in terms of guiding discretion while preserving responsibility and fairness, considering future dangerousness, and taking into full account mitigating circumstances. 8 notes and 41 references
Main Term(s): Courts
Index Term(s): Capital punishment; Jury decisionmaking; Sentencing factors
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