The Juror's Burden: Emotional Reactions of Jurors on Death Eligible Cases

Roberta J. Glaspie, Central Missouri State University
Eric Spears, Central Missouri State University
Larissa Tope, Central Missouri State University

This paper covers two points, that of the emotional reactions of jurors' as observed by graduate students during interviews, and the graduate students' responses to the jurors' releases. Information was collected from graduate students at a midwestern university participating in the Capital Jury Project Phase II, headed by Boston's Northeastern University College of Criminal Justice William Bowers. CJP, supported by funds from the National Science Foundation, is studying the extent to which jurors make arbitrary decisions in death penalty cases, including the impact of race and court instructions. First, this article discusses the reactions and responses of those who have been given this opportunity to talk about, in detail, their role as jurors. Many jurors saw the interview as an opportunity to rid themselves of the stresses associated with capital murder cases. As a second point, the graduate students' experiences during the interview process are examined. Although not the original intent of the Capital Jury Project, this body of information is still valuable from a social standpoint.

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Updated 05/20/2006