Special Circumstances Involved in a Death Penalty Case
In the American justice system there are many rules and procedures set in place to assure that a person charged in a crime has an opportunity to receive a fair trial. Most people are familiar with the rights of those accused for example the due process rights like the right to a speedy trial, right to remain silent and not having to testify in a trial where they could incriminate themselves without it , impacting the trial’s verdict , the right to have attorney if not able to pay for one the court will provide a public defender and the right to have your case heard and tried in front of a jury that is questioned and selected by your attorney as well as the opposing counsel. While observing a televised court hearing in the process of jury selection a thought occurred to me that although a jury hears and is instructed during a Death Penalty case to weigh aggravating factor against mitigating circumstances. Even though instructions are given it struck me that most people do not know the true definition of these two terms, if I having basic knowledge of these terms get frustrated with the explanation of definition, then how does an average juror with no background in law or criminal justice understand these terms . So I decided to full study the true meaning of these factors. The first of these factors is called aggravating factors which means factors that permit enhancement of an offender’s punishment, including an offender’s prior record, nature of the offense and identity of the victim(s). States use this term when dealing with Capitol murder or First degree murder, these factors are used by attorneys in their argument to get a guilty verdict and the punishment of the Death Penalty rather than life in prison without the possibility of Parole. Basically these factors are used to persuade the jury to vote death. Some aggravating factors are: killing following a rape, or, sexual...
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