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What One Hand Giveth, the Other Taketh Away: How Future Dangerousness Corrupts Guilt Verdicts and Produces Premature Punishment Decisions in Capital Cases

42 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2013  

Elizabeth S. Vartkessian

University at Albany - School of Criminal Justice

Date Written: October 16, 2012

Abstract

This article aims to further the discussion of the constitutionality of the Texas capital sentencing scheme by focusing on how the statutory focus on the defendant’s future dangerousness dismantles bifurcation and encourages early sentencing decisions. Using data from the Capital Jury Project (CJP), the article demonstrates the biasing effect of early exposure to the concept of dangerousness during voir dire. It traces how jurors use the concept of the defendant’s dangerousness in their guilt decisions and it parses out the ways in which the topic facilitates early sentencing decisions.

Keywords: capital punishment, future dangerousness, Texas, juror decision making

Suggested Citation

Vartkessian, Elizabeth S., What One Hand Giveth, the Other Taketh Away: How Future Dangerousness Corrupts Guilt Verdicts and Produces Premature Punishment Decisions in Capital Cases (October 16, 2012). Pace Law Review, Vol. 32, No. 2, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2150983

Elizabeth S. Vartkessian (Contact Author)

University at Albany - School of Criminal Justice ( email )

135 Western Ave
Building, Room 109
Albany, NY 12222
United States

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