CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Friday, July 6, 2012

Lynch & Haney on Racialized Decision Making on the Capital Jury

Mona Lynch and Craig Haney (University of California, Irvine - Department of Criminology, Law and Society and University of California, Santa Cruz - Department of Psychology) have posted Looking Across the Empathic Divide: Racialized Decision Making on the Capital Jury (Michigan State Law Review, Vol. 2011, No. 573, 2011) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

This article examines the problem of racial bias in capital cases generally and its operation within capital juries in particular. We provide a brief summary of the empirical research that demonstrates how juror demographics and defendant race interact to produce race-based death sentencing. We then explore some of the psychological dynamics that are at the core of discriminatory death sentencing by capital jurors, particularly the tendency of White jurors to more often sentence Black defendants to death. We then examine some of legal approaches that have been used to address this problem in the past, as well as the evidence of how and why they have fallen short of doing so. We conclude by proposing a set of reforms that focus more precisely on the core psychological issues that we believe are at the heart of this problem of racially biased capital jury sentencing.

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