For a very long time, the death penalty was decreed as a form of punishment for most serious crimes in the United States (Help Notes, 2014). However, some juries were dismissed from their services because of failure to pass death penalties on petitioners. The incidents that took place in 1968 clearly illustrate the affair. Witherspoon was found guilty of murder and consequently sentenced to death in 1968 (help Notes, 2014). Before the conviction, a good number of juries lost their jobs due to “conscientious scruple” a statute that allowed for dismissal of juries who objected handing down death sentence (Capital Punishment, 2014). On the other contrary, in Lockhart v. McCree, Supreme Court in the United States declined to spread out on fairness among individual judges arguing that impartiality gives jurors a platform to obey and abide by their oaths (Capital Punishment, 2014). The objective of this paper is to analyze the connections and differences among Witherspoon v. Illinois and Lockhart v. McCree cases as well as the effects of their rulings.
Similarities of Witherspoon v. Illinois and Lockhart v. McCree
Both cases clarify the possibility of the prosecution removing a juror from a pool due to their opposition to death penalty during their verdict (Help Notes, 2014). Similarly, all the cases took place in 1968 in that Witherspoon is a case that made it difficult to remove such jurors whereas Lockhart is also a case that made removal of jurors easier in the same year. Both cases work to illustrate when the prosecutors may remove jurors for a given cause in capital cases (Help Notes, 2014).
Differences of Witherspoon v. Illinois and Lockhart v. McCree
In the scenario of Lockhart, the court held that jurors were liable to be removed from the pool if they would never vote for the death penalty under any circumstances (Help Notes, 2014). On the other hand, in the case of Witherspoon, the court held that the state had no powers to make policies that would permit the prosecutors to remove any juror who expressed any opposition whatsoever towards the death penalty (Help Notes, 2014).
Effects of the Rulings of Witherspoon and Lockhart
The decisions made the judges vulnerable to some extent in the sense that courts had potential to eliminate jurors who were not willing to vote for the death penalty (Capital punishment, 2014). Thus many jurors does not represent the whole population in the sense that African Americans and women are generally opposed to the death penalty (Capital Punishment, 2014). Jurors in capital verdict also lean to be prejudiced in the direction of the guilty judgment compared to judges on the robbery and violence. For a jury to qualify for death penalty pool, they must be conviction prone (Capital Punishment, 2014). This demonstrates that even before the start of the trial the jurors have a mentality that the defendant is guilty (Capital Punishment, 2014).
Notes, H. (2014). What are the similarities and differences in Witherspoon v. Illinois and Lockhart v. McCree? – Help Notes. Retrieved from http://help-notes.appspot.com/2014/05/what-are-the-similarities-and-differences-in-witherspoon-v-illinois-and-lockhart-v-mccree
Punishment, C. (2014). Death Qualification | Capital Punishment in Context. Retrieved from http://www.capitalpunishmentincontext.org/resources/deathqualification