1400 Washington AveAlbanyNY
1400 Washington AveAlbanyNY

Capital Jury Project


This project was made possible by a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR)

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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.


Bowers, William J.
Date Coverage:
81.8 cubic ft. (about 81.8 boxes)

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 The main tenants of the research project were to (1) to build and maintain a national archive for historical documents and data on the death penalty; (2) to plan and conduct basic and policy related research on capital punishment; and (3) to encourage scholarship, conduct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.

All items in this collection were transferred to the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives.

Processed by: unprocessed

Collection record created by: This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on

Published: 2018-03-06 03:51:51 -0500

Encoded in EAD by Melissa McMullen, 2017 March 17

Archival materials can be view in-person during business hours in our reading room, located on the top floor of the Science Library on the Uptown Campus.

We can also deliver digital scans for remote research for a fee.

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.

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The Department of Special Collections and Archives is eager to hear from any copyright owners who are not properly identified so that appropriate information may be provided in the future.

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 Records).