Please join the Psychology Department in welcoming Dr. Judith Platania, Associate Professor of Psychology at Roger Williams University, as she presents:
"Considering Constitutionally Relevant Evidence: Jurors' Assessments of Physical Abuse in the Context of a Capital Trial"
Thursday, October 25th at 4:00 PM
Bowen Auditorium, McCreary Hall
Abstract: In the present study, we examined how jurors perceived evidence of childhood physical abuse in the context of a capital sentencing hearing. Although constitutionally relevant, this type of mitigating evidence has the potential to act as an aggravating circumstance, thus rendering the death sentence as more appropriate than a life sentence. In addition, we expected that the method utilized by the Court to present this type of evidence would interact with sentence preference. We proposed that the current method of including all mitigating evidence of the same nature in one category (catchall instruction) is insufficient and suggest a more efficient method of presenting each factor separately to the jury. This method is consistent with the US Supreme Court's expectations that guided discretion would increase fairness in the sentencing hearing (Gregg v. Georgia, 1976).