The Colorado Method of capital jury selection is a widely embraced strategy defense attorneys use to select jurors during voir dire, in which attorneys rank each juror exclusively on the likelihood that the juror will vote for death. The method could benefit from some expansion. Not all defense lawyers have access to Colorado-Method-based training. In innocence cases, defense lawyers should soften discussions of punishment prior to guilt since this tactic predisposes juries to vote for death. Nor do jurors' views or positions on the death penalty guarantee their eventual votes. While capital juries are already inclined to give death sentences generally, social science researchers have determined that numerous case-specific and juror specific factors significantly affect jurors' votes. I review these research findings and conclude that capital defense attorneys would be better served, if courts allow them the time and the resources, by questioning and ranking jurors on a broader set of factors. I propose that with more information in hand defense attorneys would improve their odds of selecting a jury more inclined to impose a life sentence.
96 Tul. L. Rev. 131 (2021)