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

56 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2011  

Leona Deborah Jochnowitz

Hartwick College

Date Written: November 1, 2011

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.

Keywords: Death Penalty, Capital Jury Studies

Suggested Citation

Jochnowitz, Leona Deborah, 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 (November 1, 2011). Criminal Law Bulletin, Vol. 47, No. 5, p. 839, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1967649

Leona Deborah Jochnowitz (Contact Author)

Hartwick College ( email )

Oneonta, NY 13820-4020
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.hartwick.edu/sociology

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