A Death-Qualified Jury
Jury selection can be a difficult and tedious process, with both counsels fighting for a specific type that will benefit their prosecution, or defense. The important part is that it is a fair jury of the defendants peers, and they are impartial in their beliefs, or there is a fair balance. So that the defendants Constitutional rights are not violated. When talking about capital punishment and the death penalty, it is important to have an unbiased jury capable of making a fair decision.
Witherspoon v. Illinois
In Witherspoon v. Illinois the defendant was found guilty and sentenced to death. Most of the jury in this case were removed during selection due to objections to the death penalty. The supreme court of Illinois later held that Although it has not been shown that this jury was biased with respect to guilt, it is self-evident that, in its distinct role as arbiter of the punishment to be imposed, this jury fell woefully short of that impartiality to which a defendant is entitled under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments.( Witherspoon v. Illinois) The jury was not fair with regards to punishment, and because those who objected the death penalty were removed, did not provide for a fair jury during sentencing. The court did not find any evidence stating that the jury was bias on conviction, but only on punishment.
Lockhart v. McCree
This case which happened more than 15 years later, reviewed what had not been determined in the prior case. Does excluding such jurors violate the defendants Constitutional rights ? Or does the Constitution prohibit the removal of such jurors prior to the conviction. This defendant was granted relief of Habeas Corpus based on the violation of the 6th and 14th amendments of the Constitution. During jury selection jurors were removed based on their belief and position against the death penalty. In this case and based on studies that a jury for the death penalty was more...