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Overview of the Colorado Method of Capital Voir Dire
By Matthew Rubenstein
The Colorado Method of capital voir dire is a structured approach to
capital jury selection that is being used successfully in state and
federal jurisdictions across the United States. Colorado Method capital
voir dire follows several simple principles: (1) jurors are selected
based on their life and death views only; (2) pro-death jurors (jurors
who will vote for a death sentence) are removed utilizing cause
challenges, and attempts are made to retain potential life-giving
jurors; (3) pro-death jurors are questioned about their ability to
respect the decisions of the other jurors, and potential life-giving
jurors are questioned about their ability to bring a life result out of
the jury room; and (4) peremptory challenges are prioritized based on
the prospective jurors’ views on punishment.
The capital defense community traditionally has done a remarkably poor
job in voir dire and jury selection. Research conducted by the Capital
Jury Project — based upon i
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