Assessing juror understanding of capital-sentencing instructions
Abbreviated Journal Title
COMPREHENSION; PUNISHMENT; JURIES; JUDGES; Criminology & Penology
Although recent research has suggested that juror understanding of sentencing instructions in capital cases is limited, jurors in most states retain responsibility for determining whether a defendant receives the death penalty. Using data collected from 258 individuals who were called for jury duty in a midwestern city, the present study demonstrates that (1) jurors' comprehension of sentencing instructions is limited, (2) the particular areas of misunderstanding tend to place the defendant at a disadvantage, (3) juror understanding can be improved by rewriting state death penalty pattern instructions, and (4) comprehension levels also may be increased by providing jurors with a written copy of the instructions. Unfortunately, the effects that this research may have on legal policy are unclear.
Crime & Delinquency
"Assessing juror understanding of capital-sentencing instructions" (1998). Faculty Bibliography 1990s. 2243.