Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 1996


Capital punishment, Death penalty, Capital sentencing, Empirical legal studies, Juror responsibility, Role responsibility and capital jurors, Caldwell v. Mississippi, Stanley Milgram, Capital Jury Project, CJP


Applied Statistics | Criminal Law | Criminal Procedure


The law allows executioners to deny responsibility for what they have done by making it possible for them to believe they have not done it. The law treats members of capital sentencing juries quite differently. It seeks to ensure that they feel responsible for sentencing a defendant to death. This differential treatment rests on a presumed link between a capital sentencer's willingness to accept responsibility for the sentence she imposes and the accuracy and reliability of that sentence. Using interviews of 153 jurors who sat in South Carolina capital cases, this article examines empirically whether capital sentencing jurors assume responsibility for the sentence they impose.

Publication Citation

Published in: Buffalo Law Review, vol. 44, no. 2 (Spring 1996).