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2001

Capital jurors

Legal History

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Probing "Life Qualification" Through Expanded Voir Dire, John H. Blume, Sheri Lynn Johnson, A. Brian Threlkeld Jul 2001

Probing "Life Qualification" Through Expanded Voir Dire, John H. Blume, Sheri Lynn Johnson, A. Brian Threlkeld

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

The conventional wisdom is that most trials are won or lost in jury selection. If this is true, then in many capital cases, jury selection is literally a matter of life or death. Given these high stakes and Supreme Court case law setting out standards for voir dire in capital cases, one might expect a sophisticated and thoughtful process in which each side carefully considers which jurors would be best in the particular case. Instead, it turns out that voir dire in capital cases is woefully ineffective at the most elementary task--weeding out unqualified jurors.

Empirical evidence reveals that many ...