Talk: Death Penalty Jury Instructions: A Linguistic and Discourse Analysis (02/27/13, 3:30PM)

Gail StygallWe have an exciting event coming up next Wednesday, 2/27. Dr. Gail Stygall will be sharing her research on death penalty jury instructions from 3:30-5 in Odegaard 220. A brief description of the event is provided below.

Death Penalty Jury Instructions: A Linguistic and Discourse Analysis
Dr. Gail Stygall

Two recent cases in King County have been in the news as capital offenses. One involved two young people killing an entire family; the other was a young, UW graduate in Law, Society and Justice, Christopher Monfort, who was accused of shooting a police officer. The first case is no longer a death penalty case, but Monfort’s alleged killing remains a case that will be prosecuted as a death penalty case. How might death penalty jury instructions have influenced these prosecutions?

Dr. Gail Stygall was contacted by the public defenders for an opinion on the comprehensibility of Washington state’s death penalty instructions. Earlier work through the Capital Jury Project has found that most jurors do not understand jury instructions and especially do not understand what mitigation is, which may move the defendant to life in prison. Dr. Stygall’s talk will examine both the results of the Capital Jury Project as well as engaging attendees in an investigation of comprehensibility in Washington’s instructions for death penalty cases.

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University of Washington Linguistics Undergraduate Advising
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