Friday, March 10, 2006
Albuquerque-based jury consultant Joseph Guastaferro is refining a database of attitudes toward the death penalty culled from 1500 juror questionnaires in a federal capital case earlier this year. Designed to streamline the voir dire process in a multi-defendant gang-related prosecution, the database covers a myriad of death-penalty related questions and can generate general and highly-specific juror attitude reports sorted according to demographics such as race, age and employment, and in specific areas such as attitudes toward police, the government, knowledge or fear of gang activity, and dozens of other subjects. The database can be customized to be case-specific and will be made available to other capital defense lawyers. Funds for completion of the project were provided by NACDL's Death Penalty Committee.
The database uses Microsoft's Access database management software (Access is bundled with Microsoft Office or can be purchased as a standalone product for about $200). The software organizes data – in this case, biographical data and answers to the jury questionnaires – and generates reports, such as juror attitudes toward the death penalty sorted according to race, income and other demographics, and prior contacts with the criminal justice system.
The April edition of The Champion will have more information on the database. [Mark Godsey]