Death Qualified Jury

It was determined in the case of Witherspoon v. Illinois, 391 U. S. 510 (1968) that upon the trail and conviction of said name petitioner for murder was sentenced to the death penalty. However their was challenge for cause based on an Illinois statute, that allows for any individual juror member that when question at the point of being accepted as potential jurors. If it is determined that he or she would rule in favor of the death penalty, or even rule against the death penalty.

The prosecution would be permitted to exclude the prospective jurors for cause with out investigating the determining factor of an impartial ruling. So the supreme court denies the defendant after he was convicted a post-conviction relief on the bases of a clear and distinct role as arbiter of the punishment that was to be imposed. Deemed guilty or not isn’t the question, but the fact that the jurors may oppose or not opposed the death penalty isn’t the regard. By state law these juror members are entitled to there opinion.

Under the sixth and Fourteenth Amendments these selected juror members were predetermined to rule in favor of the death penalty based on there beliefs. Therefore the supreme Court ordered a writ of certiorari that whether the Constitution allows a man to be put to death under these circumstances. In the case of Lockhart V. McCree, 476 U. S. 162 (1986). The jury found McCree guilty of capital felony murder. Ardia McCree filed a petition for post conviction relief, and it was denied under Arkansas state law. The similarities and differences in Witherspoon v. Illinois, 391 U. S.

510 (1968) and this case is that the removal of prospective juror members was clear in each circumstance. However in the Witherspoon v. Illinois case, it was more difficult to remove them verses the Lockhart V. McCree case in 1986 seemed to be less difficult. Probing a juror for his or her opinion on the death penalty was the prosecutors goal in determining whether or not they would apply the death penalty whether opposed or not. Potential juror members were released by the court if they stated that they would under any circumstances not vote for the death penalty, In the Lockhart case.

So both cases clarified when exactly the prosecutors are permitted to remove a potential juror for cause in a capital punishment case. In Lockhart V. McCree, Aridan stated that the state of arkansas violated his rights under the sixth and fourteenth amendments. This trial Judge at voir dire removed prospective jurors that mentioned there opposition to the death penalty. Eight juror members were released for cause. McCree filed habeas corpus and the term “death qualification” is used in reference to the Witherspoon v.

Illinois. Stating that “Witherspoon-excludables” or prospective jurors were in violation to his rights, and to have his guilt determined by an impartial jury. Although this appears to be a be a repeating issue that has been visited in the Supreme Court, it can only be determined that the court can and should be able to eliminate prospective juror members that oppose the death penalty in a capital case. With that being said, an individual should be allowed to oppose the death penalty for what ever their reason.

At the same time it took these cases through trail to see that not necessarily a flawed system, but that a juror should represent the whole population, instead of limiting it to a so called subgroup people.

References Witherspoon v. Illinois – 391 U. S. 510 (1968), Pp 391& 521-523. http://supreme. justia. com/cases/federal/us/391/510/case. html Legal law institute (Overview) http://www. law. cornell. edu/wex/certiorari Criminal Procedure (Law and Practice) Roland V. Del Carmen Chapter. 2 Pg. 56-57.