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Administrative Issues Journal

Abstract

The study of capital juries remains a subject of critical interest for the public and for legislative and judicial policy makers as well as legal scholars and social scientists. Cowan, Thompson, and Ellsworth established one of the standard methodologies for examination of this topic in their 1984 seminal study by observing the subjects’ debate about conviction in a death penalty case utilizing mock juries; other scholars employed different techniques to add more information in the late 1990s. Yet, the question of death qualification and prosecutorial bias remains open to inquiry. This preliminary study found evidence to support bias toward conviction in capital punishment cases while also identifying several methodological problems in examining decision-making through the use of mock juries.

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