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The legal and methodological implications of death qualification operationalization

Description: Jury selection for death penalty cases is unique in that it includes a "death qualification" process in which prospective jurors are probed concerning their attitudes toward the death penalty and whether their attitudes would interfere with their performance as jurors. The current study assessed the relationship between two death qualification standards (i.e., the Witt standard and Witherspoon-Morgan standard) and mock jurors' endorsements of evidence and sentencing decisions. Results showed the Witherspoon-Morgan standard was significantly related to the dichotomous sentencing decision, whereas the Witt standard was not. Similarly, the Witt standard was significantly related to aggravator endorsement, whereas the Witherspoon-Morgan standard was not. These disparate relationships have implications for attorneys and judges in capital cases, as well as death penalty researchers.

Suggested Citation:
West, M. P., Wood, E. F., Casas, J. B., & Miller, M. K. (2017). The legal and methodological implications of death qualification operationalization [Electronic Version]. Applied Psychology in Criminal Justice, 13(1), 18-32.

Keywords: death qualification, capital punishment, juror decision-making, death penalty attitudes, jury selection

Date: May 18, 2017 | File Size: 383.13 Kb | Downloads: 204

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