Book Review: Religion in Criminal Justice by Monica K. Miller
11 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2009
Date Written: January 29, 2009
Do appeals to religious values during closing arguments of capital cases influence juror's decisions to impose the death penalty? Based on experiments with mock jurors, Monica K. Miller is willing to conclude that religious appeals do not interfere with jurors' sentencing decisions. But the religious appeals she presents to mock jurors are based on weak written summaries of cases rather than, say, dramatic presentations, so their failure will not support a general conclusion about the effect of religious appeals. More accurately, her studies show that religious appeals - as represented in written summaries - do not interfere with juror's sentencing decisions in death penalty cases. Miller's work provides preliminary results, and the main question about effects of appeals to religious values remains unanswered.
Keywords: death penalty, capital punishment, jurors, penalty phase, religion
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