Washington Law Review


Legal practices vary in states which allow the death penalty, but a jury can usually levy or recommend life imprisonment. Nevertheless, capital punishment flourishes in states which provide the alternate penalty. In one way or another, this optional life-or-death feature of legal litany necessitates that jurymen answer: "Do you think this defendant ought to be killed?" Citizens shirk this decision and often refuse to serve on death penalty cases. If this practice of citizen disqualification becomes widespread, it may well raise the question eventually of whether the death penalty has systematically excluded citizens to such an extent that it no longer represents a cross section of the community.

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