In cases involving crimes punishable by death and in which the jury makes both decisions, a special jury-selection practice known as death qualification is typically used. Through death qualification, judges may exclude all prospec- tive jurors who say that they would refuse to vote for the death penalty. These jurors are excluded for the entire trial. To ensure that sentencing decisions are unbiased, it makes sense to exclude those who admit they are closed-minded. But does this same selection practice tip the balance toward the prosecution when it comes to the verdict? In other words, are death-qualified juries prone to convict?
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In a series of studies, Phoebe Ellsworth, Craig Haney, and others have exam- ined this question. Their results have shown that compared to people who oppose the death penalty, those who support it are more prosecution-minded on a host of issues. For example, they are more concerned about crime, more trustful of police, more cynical about defense lawyers, and less tolerant of procedures that are Worldwide, the most common methods of execution are by hanging, shooting, and beheading. In the United States, the most commonly used methods are electrocution, lethal injection, and poisonous gas—as delivered in this gas chamber. For more information on the death penalty, such as up-to-date lists of death- row inmates,