Document Type


Publication Date



Capital jurors, Capital defense, Future dangerousness, Simmons v. South Carolina, Capital Jury Project, CJP, Death penalty, Capital punishment, Shafer v. South Carolina


Criminal Procedure | Law and Society


Under Simmons v. South Carolina, a capital defendant who, if not sentenced to death, will remain in prison with no chance of parole is constitutionally entitled to an instruction informing the jury of the fact, but only if the prosecution engages in conduct that places the defendant's future dangerousness "at issue." Based on data collected from interviews with South Carolina capital jurors, Professors Blume, Garvey and Johnson argue that future dangerousness is on the minds of most capital jurors, and is thus "at issue" in virtually all capital trials, regardless of the prosecution's conduct. Accordingly, the authors argue that the "at issue" requirement of Simmons serves no real purpose and should be eliminated.

Publication Citation

Published in: Cornell Law Review, vol. 86, no. 2 (January 2001).