Presenter Information

Brendon Martin

Description

Death qualification, the policy and process by which the American legal system determines whether or not jurors are fit to serve on death penalty cases, functions today as an enshrined practice in criminal law after decades of scrutiny under the lens of both the Supreme Court and academic scholars. By tracing the evolution of the death qualification process as well as its impacts and implications on both jury composition and verdicts, this research considers whether death qualification merits continued utilization and protection. While this practice emanates from a value of balancing the interests of the state with that of the accused, its application does little to bear up such a premise. It is clear that death qualification actively threatens the rights of capital defendants and assembles unrepresentative, conviction-prone juries. These findings demand either a significant transformation or immediate termination of the process of death qualification.

Keywords:

Death Penalty, Death Qualification, Criminal Law, Juries, Jury Trials, Supreme Court

Department

History, Humanities, & Government

College

College of Arts and Cultural Studies

Included in

History Commons

Share

COinS
 

Qualifying and Assembling Executioners

Death qualification, the policy and process by which the American legal system determines whether or not jurors are fit to serve on death penalty cases, functions today as an enshrined practice in criminal law after decades of scrutiny under the lens of both the Supreme Court and academic scholars. By tracing the evolution of the death qualification process as well as its impacts and implications on both jury composition and verdicts, this research considers whether death qualification merits continued utilization and protection. While this practice emanates from a value of balancing the interests of the state with that of the accused, its application does little to bear up such a premise. It is clear that death qualification actively threatens the rights of capital defendants and assembles unrepresentative, conviction-prone juries. These findings demand either a significant transformation or immediate termination of the process of death qualification.