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Full-Text Articles in Legal History

Killing The Non-Willing: Atkins, The Volitionally Incapacitated, And The Death Penalty, John Blume, Sheri Lynn Johnson Dec 2014

Killing The Non-Willing: Atkins, The Volitionally Incapacitated, And The Death Penalty, John Blume, Sheri Lynn Johnson

John H. Blume

Jamie Wilson, nineteen years old and severely mentally ill, walked into a school cafeteria and started shooting. Two children died, and Jamie was charged with two counts of capital murder. Because he admitted his guilt, the only issue at his trial was the appropriate punishment. The trial judge assigned to his case, after hearing expert testimony on his mental state, found that mental illness rendered Jamie unable to conform his conduct to the requirements of law at the time of the crime—not impaired by his mental illness in his ability to control his behavior, but unable to control his ...


Probing "Life Qualification" Through Expanded Voir Dire, John H. Blume, Sheri Lynn Johnson, A. Brian Threlkeld Dec 2014

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

John H. Blume

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 ...