Master of Arts (MA)
First Committee Member
Joel D. Lieberman
Number of Pages
Previous research suggests that jurors are more likely to emphasize aggravating circumstances and disregard mitigating circumstances during the sentencing phase of capital cases. This is not only contrary to the ideals of procedural fairness espoused in most death penalty statutes, but it also increases a capital defendant's likelihood of receiving the death penalty; The current study explores whether mortality salience and worldview defense, key components of terror management theory, can increase procedural fairness in capital cases by increasing jurors' attention to mitigating circumstances. This is achieved through a factorial-design jury simulation in which mock jurors are exposed to varying levels of mortality salience and strength of mitigation circumstances. The analysis of the data is followed by a discussion of the key findings of the study, as well as implications and avenues for future research.
Capital; Fairness; Increased; Mortality; Penalty; Phase; Procedural; Salience; Trials
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
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Shoemaker, Jared A, "Using mortality salience to increase procedural fairness in the penalty phase of capital trials" (2008). UNLV Retrospective Theses & Dissertations. 2319.