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Doing Death: An Introduction to Capital Jurors’ Experiences as Reflections of American Understanding of the Death Penalty

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Abstract:

A review of existing memoirs by those involved in death penalty work, including lawyers and prison officials, reveals a common narrative consisting of exposure that results in understanding and then opposition. The prevalence of this narrative raises the question of whether this same experience exists for capital jurors, and, if so, what jurors’ experiences reveal about the American understanding of the death penalty. I argue that the capital juror is the most useful figure for understanding the American public’s conflicted relationship with the death penalty and that further research into the impact of the decision upon the individual juror will lead to an understanding of the cost of the death penalty beyond the merely fiscal. I then review the historical reasons behind the lack of research into jurors, from the jury’s historical “black box” role to the current emphasis on models of decision-making. I offer similarities between soldiers’ narratives of responsibility and jurors’ narratives as indicators of what further research might reveal. I conclude that without further research into the impact of the sentencing experience on capital jurors, the death penalty debate is myopic and fails to account for the broader social costs exacted by the penalty.
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Name: The Law and Society Association
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http://www.lawandsociety.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p95864_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Marzano-Lesnevich, Alexandria. "Doing Death: An Introduction to Capital Jurors’ Experiences as Reflections of American Understanding of the Death Penalty" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the The Law and Society Association, Jul 06, 2006 <Not Available>. 2013-12-16 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p95864_index.html>

APA Citation:

Marzano-Lesnevich, A. M. , 2006-07-06 "Doing Death: An Introduction to Capital Jurors’ Experiences as Reflections of American Understanding of the Death Penalty" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the The Law and Society Association <Not Available>. 2013-12-16 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p95864_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: A review of existing memoirs by those involved in death penalty work, including lawyers and prison officials, reveals a common narrative consisting of exposure that results in understanding and then opposition. The prevalence of this narrative raises the question of whether this same experience exists for capital jurors, and, if so, what jurors’ experiences reveal about the American understanding of the death penalty. I argue that the capital juror is the most useful figure for understanding the American public’s conflicted relationship with the death penalty and that further research into the impact of the decision upon the individual juror will lead to an understanding of the cost of the death penalty beyond the merely fiscal. I then review the historical reasons behind the lack of research into jurors, from the jury’s historical “black box” role to the current emphasis on models of decision-making. I offer similarities between soldiers’ narratives of responsibility and jurors’ narratives as indicators of what further research might reveal. I conclude that without further research into the impact of the sentencing experience on capital jurors, the death penalty debate is myopic and fails to account for the broader social costs exacted by the penalty.

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Similar Titles:
Capital Improvements? Juror Decision-Making in Texas Death Penalty Trials before and after Penry v. Lynaugh

Receptivity of Capital Jurors to Mitigating Factors; Mental Illness and Retardation in Death Penalty Decisions

Race and the Death Penalty: The Determinants and Resilience of Attitudes toward Capital Punishment among Whites and African Americans


 
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