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The Juvenile Death Penalty and the Eighth Amendment: An Empirical Investigation of Societal Consensus and Proportionality

Catherine A. Crosby, Preston A. Britner, Kathleen M. Jodl and Sharon G. Portwood
Law and Human Behavior
Vol. 19, No. 3 (Jun., 1995), pp. 245-261
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1394003
Page Count: 17
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The Juvenile Death Penalty and the Eighth Amendment: An Empirical Investigation of Societal Consensus and Proportionality
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Abstract

The present study investigated the Eighth Amendment tests of societal consensus and proportionality as applied to juvenile death penalties. A sample of former jurors (N = 179) voted on whether to execute the defendant in a hypothetical case. Defendant's age (10, 15, 16, or 19) and level of remorse were varied. A large percentage of participants voted to execute the defendant in each condition, but the defendant's age and the participant's attitude toward juvenile culpability significantly predicted the likelihood of execution. Implications for the constitutionality of the juvenile death penalty and future research directions are discussed.

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