Prof. Meredith Rountree on What Influences Death Penalty Jurors' Moral Decisionmaking

In the March 2022 episode of Discussions With DPIC, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law Senior Lecturer Meredith Rountree speaks with Death Penalty Information Center Executive Director Robert Dunham about her study of the types of evidence that influence juror decision-making at the sentencing stage of capital cases. Rountree and her co-author Dr. Mary Rose of the University of Texas, reviewed and analyzed 176 verdict forms completed by juries in federal death penalty cases, focusing on three legally controversial areas of mitigating evidence that juries found to be important to their decisions on life or death: the impact of a person’s execution on their loved ones, the sentences received by co-participants in the offense, and the role of government negligence.

The research wasn’t “just a survey of what jurors think matters,” Rountree explains. It also asked and answers important questions on “how does this fit in to their moral decision making?”

Read Meredith Rountree and Mary Rose, The Complexities of Conscience: Reconciling Death Penalty Law with Capital Jurors’ Concerns, 69 Buffalo Law Review 1237 (Dec. 2021).