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Capital Jury Project

M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives

Inclusive Date: 1941-2011

Bowers, William J.

81.8 cubic ft.


The Capital Jury Project (CJP) was started in 1991 under the direction of principal investigation, William J. Bowers. The project was funded by an NSF grant to conduct surveys of juror who participated in capital trials. There are three phases to the project.

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Collection Details

Processed in 2015 by unprocessed.

The materials are located onsite in the department.

The Capital Jury Project was initiated in 1991 by a consortium of university-based researchers with support from the National Science Foundation. The Project is administered nationally by Dr. William Bowers, Principal Research Scientist, Northeastern University. The findings of the CJP are based on 3 to 4 hour, in-depth, interviews with persons who have served as jurors in capital trials. Phase I of the Project has completed over 1,200 interviews from jurors in 353 capital trials in 14 states. These interviews chronicled the jurors' experiences and decision-making over the course of the trial, identify points at which various influences come into play, and reveal the ways in which jurors reach their final sentencing decision. The project continued with the Capital Jury Project II (CJP2), a program of research on the decision-making of capital jurors. The second phase, CJP2 ran from 2001 to roughly 2005 when the third phase of the project started. The second phase was housed at the University at Albany's School of Criminal Justice'sCapital Punishment Research Initiative, part of the Hindelang Criminal Justice Research Center. The main tenants of the research project were to (1) to build and maintain a national archive for historical documents and data on the death penalty; (2) to plan and conduct basic and policy related research on capital punishment; and (3) to encourage scholarship, conduct graduate and undergraduate training, and disseminate scientifically grounded knowledge about the ultimate penal sanction. Principal Investigatorof the CJP is William J. Bowers (Ph.D., Columbia University, 1966). He was Principal Research Scientist in the School of Criminal Justice, University at Albany, formerly at Northeastern University. For his research on capital punishment, in 2000 Dr. Bowers received the American Society of Criminology's August Vollmer Award for outstanding contributions in applied criminology. Michael E. Antonio (Ph.D., Northeastern University, 2003) coordinated data management for the phase of the CJP on the role race plays in capital sentencing. Susan Ehrhard-Dietzel and Christopher E. Kelly (recent doctoral recipients at the University at Albany and Temple University, respectively) have assisted with the coordination and data management on the phase of the CJP concerned with jurors' receptivity to mitigation in capital sentencing.

The Capital Jury records document the phases of the Capital Jury Research project. The collection contains materials ranging from 1979 to 2011 the bulk of the material is from 1991 to 2011. The collection is divided into parts that represent the life cycle of the whole project. The three phases, Capital Jury Project I, Capital Jury Project II, and Capital Jury Project III, which is still ongoing are comprised on materials that interviews used while conducting in person and phone interviews of former capital jury members. Also represented in the collection are publications and research from the findings of the interviews as well as research on the Death Penalty in the United States. The bulk of the collection focuses on the first phase of the Capital Jury Project which includes the interviews and audio cassettes of the interviews.

The collection is unprocessed and is likely disorganized. Individual items may be difficult to find.

Collection Access & Use

Access to this record group is restricted. Researchers requesting access to records of the Capital Jury Project must adhere to the following conditions: 1) Researchers shall complete a Restricted Records Access Request form supplied by the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives and adequately describe the nature and purpose of their research; 2) Requests to photocopy or otherwise reproduce restricted records are prohibited; 3) Researchers may not publish or otherwise disclose any personally identifiable information from the materials in this collection; 4)Researchers may list the Sex, State, and Race of a juror when necessary and nothing else.

This page may contain links to digital objects. Access to these images and the technical capacity to download them does not imply permission for re-use. Digital objects may be used freely for personal reference use, referred to, or linked to from other web sites.

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:Preferred citation for this material is as follows:
Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Capital Jury Project, 1941-2011. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as the Capital Jury Project).

Collection Subjects & Formats

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