CrimProf Blog

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

Monday, February 4, 2013

Vartkessian on Future Dangerousness in Capital Cases

Elizabeth Vartkessian (University at Albany - School of Criminal Justice) has posted What One Hand Giveth, the Other Taketh Away: How Future Dangerousness Corrupts Guilt Verdicts and Produces Premature Punishment Decisions in Capital Cases (Pace Law Review, Vol. 32, No. 2, 2012) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

This article aims to further the discussion of the constitutionality of the Texas capital sentencing scheme by focusing on how the statutory focus on the defendant’s future dangerousness dismantles bifurcation and encourages early sentencing decisions. Using data from the Capital Jury Project (CJP), the article demonstrates the biasing effect of early exposure to the concept of dangerousness during voir dire. It traces how jurors use the concept of the defendant’s dangerousness in their guilt decisions and it parses out the ways in which the topic facilitates early sentencing decisions.

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