CrimProf Blog

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

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Jochnowitz on Capital Jurors and Mitigating Evidence

Leona Deborah Jochnowitz has posted How Capital Jurors Respond to Mitigating Evidence of Defendant's Mental Illness, Retardation, and Situational Impairments: An Analysis of the Legal and Social Science Literature (Criminal Law Bulletin, Vol. 47, No. 5, p. 839, 2011) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

This article provides a historical review and analysis of the legal and empirical literature regarding capital juror decision-making, focusing on how capital jurors respond to mitigating factors of mental health, cognitive, and situational impairments. The level of juror receptivity to mental evidence is explained through the perspective of various theories of capital juror decision-making. This article draws upon the precedents of the first contemporary systematic jury studies of the 1950s conducted by Chicago Jury Project researchers. It explores methodologies used to investigate juror decision-making. It analyzes studies on the effectiveness of mental health defenses in criminal trials, a subtopic of the jury research. It focuses on findings of the Capital Jury Project I, which furthered capital jury research through post-trial interviews with actual jurors in the 1990's. Thus, this article imparts a better understanding of how jurors perceive a defendant's extenuating mental disabilities, which may be also stigmatizing and aggravating.

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