CrimProf Blog

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

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Single-Juror Veto and the Federal Death Penalty

Kent Scheidegger at Crime and Consequences criticizes the decision to try some of the 9/11 suspects in federal civilian courts on the grounds that it makes a death sentence more difficult to achieve.

[i]n federal court, if the jury votes 11 for death and 1 for life, the decision of the 1 prevails over the decision of the 11. This rule is brain dead, but it is followed in a surprising number of jurisdictions. One better alternative is the California rule, where deadlock means a mistrial and retrial of the penalty phase before another jury. Another is the Florida rule, where a nonunanimous jury can make a recommendation to the trial judge, who makes the final decision

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