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NCJ Number: 112392 Find in a Library
Title: Why Jurors Vote Life or Death: Operative Factors in Ten Florida Death Penalty Cases
Journal: American Journal of Criminal Law  Volume:15  Issue:1-2  Dated:(Fall-Winter 1987-88)  Pages:1-54
Author(s): J Geimer; J Amsterdam
Date Published: 1987
Page Count: 55
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Interviews were conducted with 54 of the 120 jurors who served in 10 Florida capital cases to examine their reasons for recommending execution or life imprisonment.
Abstract: These cases included five in which the jury recommended life imprisonment and five in which it recommended the death penalty. In five of these cases, the jury recommendation was overridden by the judge. Results indicate that capital sentencers do not employ the State's 'roadmap' to guide discretion. The factors considered by jurors in these cases only occasionally resembled the statutory list of aggravating and mitigating factors, and the factors that actually influenced juror decisions were rarely dealt with during appellate review. For jurors recommending life, lingering doubts and scruples were the primary operative factors in decisions; for jurors recommending death, the assumption of a mandatory or presumptive death sentence and the manner of the killing were the most frequently given explanations. Results suggest that jury discretion cannot be guided and that guidelines listing sentencing factors appear to serve the primary function of giving appellate courts something tangible to review rather than having any appreciable effect on trial-level decisionmaking. 243 footnotes.
Main Term(s): Jury decisionmaking
Index Term(s): Capital punishment; Discretionary decisions; Florida; Sentencing factors
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