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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.

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