Comparative value arguments (CVA) suggest to jurors that a death sentence is appropriate because the victim’s value surpasses the defendant’s value. Jurors exposed to CVA are likely to misuse mitigation and victim impact evidence. The present study has a sample of 140 university students. A 2 x 4 + 1 between-groups factorial design was utilized to examine effects of mitigation and victim impact evidence in the context of CVA (held constant); and to test legal safeguard efficacy. A main effect was found of legal safeguards on jurors’ perceptions of prosecutorial misconduct, and a significant association was found between legal safeguards and sentence recommendation. Attitudes toward the death penalty mediated the predictive relationship between affective and cognitive factors and sentence recommendation.
Small, Rachel, "Examining Comparative Value Arguments, Capital Sentencing Evidence, and Legal Safeguards" (2011). Psychology Theses. 20.