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Volume 6 Issue 2

Instructions as a safeguard against prosecutorial misconduct in capital sentencing

Platania, Judith, & Small, Rachel

Prosecutorial misconduct in the form of improper closing argument has been identified as a leading cause of unfairness in capital trials. The U.S. Supreme Court has indicated that arguments with the potential to unduly influence the jury should be clarified by a specific judicial instruction. The present study investigated the effectiveness of varying instructions on sentence recommendations and perceptions of improper prosecutor argument. Results indicated that the inclusion of a specific, cautionary instruction led to significantly less death penalty recommendations compared to a brief, general instruction. In addition, instructions minimized the importance of the misconduct statements on participants' sentence recommendations. Findings provide support for the validity of judicial instructions as a legal safeguard against prosecutorial misconduct in capital sentencing.

The role of police behavior in predicting citizens' attitudes toward the police

Avdija, Avdi S

The purpose of this research article is to determine the extent to which police behavior affects citizens' attitudes toward the police. Additionally, this study attempts to determine whether or not citizen interaction with the police and citizens' demographic characteristics have a significant effect on attitudes toward the police - after introducing police behavior into the model. The findings of this research study are based on the analyses of the data collected through a self-administered survey questionnaire distributed to 304 undergraduate students as part of a larger study on crime-reporting behavior. The ordinary least square regression analyses suggest that police behavior is the strongest determinant of citizens' attitudes toward the police, followed by citizens' demographic characteristics.

Representativeness of petit juries

Sarver III, Robert A., & Lyons, Phillip M

This study examined the representativeness of juries in Montgomery County, TX. The purpose of this study was to identify whether the venire was representative of the community and whether juries were representative of both the venire and the community. The participants in this study consisted of residents of Montgomery County. Demographic information was obtained through an official jury questionnaire designed by the courts and completed when prospective jurors answered the summons. Hispanics were significantly under-represented both in venires and in petit juries relative to their proportion in the county, but it is not clear what proportion of Hispanics are actually eligible for jury service. A binary logistic regression was conducted in order to determine which variables had an impact on jury selection. It was found that females were more likely to be selected as were prospective jurors who had no prior involvement with civil lawsuits.

The impact and implications of interpersonal criticism for police executives

Garner, Randy

A series of focus groups comprised of 616 police executives considered the issues and implications of vocationally-based, interpersonal criticism. Policing is an occupation that is inherently exposed to criticism and conflict. Those charged with leading and managing police organizations often report significant exposure to criticism-prone circumstances. The participants collectively reported that criticism is indeed an adverse factor that can influence their physical health, psychological well-being, and vocation. Considerations regarding the impact of interpersonal criticism and suggestions from the participants for better handling criticism are discussed.