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The International Lethal Injection Drug Boycott and Its Effects on the Death Penalty in the United States

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In the last seven years the practice of capital punishment in the United States has been shaken by one of the most unlikely suspects- the prescription drug market. The practice of capital punishment has gone from fervent support to abolishment

In the last seven years the practice of capital punishment in the United States has been shaken by one of the most unlikely suspects- the prescription drug market. The practice of capital punishment has gone from fervent support to abolishment and back again throughout the nation's history. Over time the process of capital punishment has evolved from public hangings to a secretive medical procedure. The American people have become detached from the act because it is no longer right in front of their face, but often occurs in a small prison room with a viewing window for a select group of witnesses. The modern method of capital punishment is lethal injection- a three-drug protocol that is accepted as the most humane means of executing criminals. The protocol has faced criticism and legal challenges for years. This is in part because the United States stands alone as one of the last westernized democratic nations to regularly execute convicted criminals. European activist groups and government agencies have been fighting for abolishment in the United States for years with little progress. Recently, the activist groups discovered a novel way to make an impact on the capital punishment system in the United States that had not been attempted. The groups appealed to the drug manufacturing companies in Europe and exposed their supply chains to the public. When it was revealed that the drugs these companies produced were ending up in U.S. prisons for executions the companies eventually stopped all sales of execution drugs to U.S. corrections facilities. This led to the European Union banning all exports of drugs for lethal use in 2011. This study will analyze the effects of the lethal injection drug boycott on the death penalty in the United States. Since the ban, death penalty states have been scrambling in order to procure enough drugs to carry out their future executions. They have attempted to obtain the drugs illegally, trade between each other, reinstate older methods of execution, and entirely change their three-drug protocol to incorporate new drugs or less drugs. Executions have dropped both in the number of death sentences handed down and the number of executions. Also, polls analyzing acceptance of the death penalty have shown decreasing support for the practice domestically. Although there are other factors that may have contributed to the decline of capital punishment in the United States, it seems as though the international lethal injection boycott has made the most progress in the shortest amount of time and has the potential to drastically change the future of the death penalty in the United States.

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2016-05

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Scientific Detail and Juror Decision-Making in Capital Scenarios

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By providing vignettes with manipulated scientific evidence, this research examined if including more or less scientific detail affected decision-making in regards to the death penalty. Participants were randomly assigned one of the two manipulations (less science and more science) after

By providing vignettes with manipulated scientific evidence, this research examined if including more or less scientific detail affected decision-making in regards to the death penalty. Participants were randomly assigned one of the two manipulations (less science and more science) after reading a short scenario introducing the mock capital trial and their role as jury members. Survey respondents were told that a jury had previously found the defendant guilty and they would now deliberate the appropriate punishment. Before being exposed to the manipulation, respondents answered questions pertaining to their prior belief in the death penalty, as well as their level of support of procedural justice and science. These questions provided a baseline to compare to their sentencing decision. Participants were then asked what sentence they would impose \u2014 life in prison or death \u2014 and how the fMRI evidence presented by an expert witness for the defense affected their decision. Both quantitative and qualitative measures were used to identify how the level of scientific detail affected their decision. Our intended predictor variable (level of scientific detail) did not affect juror decision-making. In fact, the qualitative results revealed a variety of interpretations of the scientific evidence used both in favor of death and in favor of life. When looking at what did predict juror decision-making, gender, prior belief in the death penalty, and political ideology all were significant predictors. As in previous literature, the fMRI evidence in our study had mixed results with regards to implementation of the death penalty. This held true in both of our manipulations, showing that despite the level of detail in evidence intended for mitigation, jurors with preconceived notions may still disregard the evidence, and some jurors may even view it is aggravating and thus increase the likelihood of a death sentence for a defendant with such brain abnormalities.

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2016-12