Death sentencing trials require a death qualification process in which potential jurors are excluded if their attitudes for or against the death penalty would interfere with their duties to be impartial.
Crime Control: Death Qualification and Jury Attitudes, 8 LAW & HUM.
Miller, Death Qualification as Systematic Exclusion of Jurors with Certain Religious and Other Characteristics, 40 J.
(112) Larger prosecutor's offices benefit substantially from prior experience with death qualification
, which involves skillful questioning of the venire and judicious use of "strikes" against individual jurors.
The primary purpose of "death qualification
" during voir dire is to remove jurors who unequivocally oppose the death penalty or, conversely, who believe that the death sentence is required in every homicide case.
But it also pressed the issue of "death qualification
," which resulted in the seating of juries particularly likely to convict and prone to favor capital punishment, the unreliability in the sentencing determination introduced by unitary proceedings, the broad use of capital punishment for crimes less than murder, and the lack of guidance given to juries in the determination of whether death was appropriate.
The Court also has considered the timing of the death qualification procedure.
(156) Data show that "death qualification makes juries more conviction-prone, more death-prone, less representative, and less accurate in fact-finding." (157)
And yet, as Eric Freedman, a constitutional law scholar at Hofstra University, has pointed out, "as a brute matter of statistics, the farther you go in death qualification
, the more wrongful convictions you will get." (16) A jury as "well qualified" as the one in this case is likely to be dominated by white male Republicans--hardly a representative cross-section of the public, and a prosecutor's dream.
Because there is little doubt of Burris' guilt, and all jurors in capital trials must pass the death qualification
(which means they are not opposed to the death penalty in all cases), many speculated that Burris' childhood was the factor that prevented the jurors' agreement.
At the pretrial stage, the cost differential stems from death qualification of a jury and defense attorney appointments.
As previously noted, the implementation of procedural safeguards in capital cases (e.g., appointment of special counsel, death qualification, additional motions, etc.) dramatically increases the amount of time devoted to pretrial investigations and litigation efforts.