The history of Capital Punishment here and here. The process of death qualifying a jury here. The bias created by death qualifying a jury here and here. The State of Massachusetts Report of the Governor’s Council here and here.
There are an infinite number of arguments both for and against capital punishment. Morality, religion and vengeance can all be used to argue either for or against capital punishment. But, the one constant is that there will always be proponents and opponents.
It would be nearly impossible to invent a better way of placing members of the public on a capital jury, absent the outlawing of capital punishment. The proposals outlined in the previous posts by Professors Kamin and Pokorak certainly come close.
But one thing is clear; the current manner of death qualifying a jury creates a jury that is more prone to convict and more likely to recommend a sentence of death, as the studies have shown (here and here).
It would be nice if there were no need for capital punishment. But, a slim majority of people in this nation feel that there is such a need. It is rather unfortunate, especially for defendants in capital murder cases, that the members of that slim majority encompass the entire jury in every capital murder case in every jurisdiction in this nation.
There is no other way to death qualify a jury that would eliminate all juror discrimination and all juror slant. However, it would be rational to at least consider that idea of using a non-death qualified jury for capital cases, the same type of jury used in all other criminal cases. This would at least provide the defendant with a little more breathing room, with some “friends” on the jury. After all, the defendant is innocent until proven guilty. That is something that seems to have been forgotten.