Religion and the Death Penalty

Religion has the ability to affect death penalty trials in numerous ways. The most studied include the effects of jurors' religiosity and religious appeals used by lawyers during trial. Religion also affects judges' decisions. Although the study of how religion affects legal decision making is still in its infancy, religion has the potential to affect voir dire, trial presentation, and trial outcomes.

Use of Religion in Voir Dire

Before a trial begins, lawyers have the opportunity to exclude a set number of potential jurors who they believe will not favor their client. Lawyers often exclude potential jurors on the basis of personal characteristics such as religious beliefs or affiliation. For example, lawyers have excluded potential jurors because they were Jewish, Islamic, Jehovah's Witnesses, Catholic, or Pentecostal. Other ...

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