Note: This program was produced in the summer of 2003, before the Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of Thomas Miller-El. In February, 2003, the Court handed down a ruling ordering a new hearing on Miller-El's claim that his jury was racially biased. Miller-El has been appealing his death sentence since 1986.
In capital murder trialswhere a defendant may be sentenced to death lawyers will often tell you that the outcome is decided before either side makes an opening statement or presents any evidence. The critical part of the trial, these lawyers say is the selection of jurors.
In high profile murder cases, both sides may spend tens of thousands of dollars on psychologists and other consultants who try to predict the behavior of individual jurors. But selecting the "right" jury is not an exact science. And the "right" jury is not necessarily a fair jury.
Next: Haney Experiment