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Jurors On A Death Penalty Case

1210 words - 5 pages

One of the most intense group task experiences in the United States is that of serving on the jury of a death penalty case. This forces a group of complete strangers to come together and determine the fate of another’s human beings life. The court case of the State of Ohio v Mark Ducic, was of no exception. Ducic a 47 year old drug addict white male, was accused of committing a double homicide. In accordance with Ohio state law, murdering more than one individual is considered a mass murder and therefore the accused is subject to the possibility of the death penalty. Ducic’s victims included Barbara Davis, his domestic partner and drug addict, as well as a drug user that Ducic was an acquaintance with. The death of Davis was at first believed to be due to an overdose, but police informants identified Ducic’s voice on a recording claiming that he killed her. The other victim, the drug addict, was thought to be eliminated by Ducic for fear that he would inform the police that he killed Davis. Investigators believed that Ducic gave both victims a deathly amount of drugs that would make it appear as though they both simply overdosed. Ducic was found guilty on both occasions, yet a second trial in regards to his sentencing had to occur and another hearing had to be conducted on whether or not to remove the death penalty.
As one of the seven jury deliberations documented and recorded in the ABC News television series In the Jury Room the discussions of the jurors were able to be seen throughout the United States. A transcript was also created by ABC News for the public as well. The emotions and interactions of the jurors were now capable of being portrayed to anyone interested in the interworkings of jury deliberations. The first task, as instructed by the judge of the court, was for the jury to identify if the death penalty should be used. The jury had to unanimously agree that the state prosecution team left no doubt that the accused was guilty and that his crimes called for the use of the death penalty. After this first task the jury could not agree to a death penalty they would have to choose the following three options. First, that Ducic should receive a life sentence with no opportunity to parole. Second, a life sentence with the chance to parole after 30 years served. Or third, that Ducic serve 25 years before having the chance to receive parole.
Early in the deliberations it was increasingly apparent that a handful of jurors had the goal to identify factors in the case that would not allow the death penalty to occur, whereas a many other jurors believed immediately that Ducic was guilty and deserved the death penalty. Surprisingly, many jurors appeared to already have their minds made up without the sharing of information or conversing with other jurors to see where they were currently standing. Many jurors claimed that the use of illegal drugs had strongly influenced the defendant’s critical thinking ability, while others believed that the...

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