East Carolina University criminal justice professor Dr. Jonathan Sorensen will oversee the Capital Jury Project archive in the ECU Department of Criminal Justice.
The data archive includes interviews from more than 1,198 death penalty jurors in 14 states. Results from the study have enabled researchers to publish more than 60 academic and law journal articles over the last 22 years. The archive was originally funded by the National Science Foundation.
“The significance of the CJP is hard to overstate: it is the single most comprehensive and influential study of capital punishment ever completed,” said Sorensen.
Project originator William Bowers, formerly a professor at the University of New York at Albany and Northeastern University, asked Sorensen to collaborate on the Capital Jury Project and forwarded its data archive to ECU.
“Bowers and his colleagues sought to look inside the ‘black box’ at sentencing deliberations to better understand the decision making of jurors in capital punishment cases. We will continue with this and similar studies to assess the efficacy of capital punishment policies nationwide,” Sorensen said.
Sorensen, who joined the ECU faculty in 2012, has achieved national prominence as an expert on capital punishment and prediction of criminal offender dangerousness. As the author of three books and more than 70 peer-reviewed articles, Sorensen’s research has been cited by, among others, the U.S. Supreme Court in Ring v. Arizona (2002) and the American Bar Association.
Criminal Justice Department Chair Dr. William Bloss is pleased that the department has been selected to house the CJP archive. “Having Dr. Sorensen affiliated with the Capital Jury Project is a distinction for the department and a testament to his stature as a scholar,” said Bloss. “Housing the CJP archive will afford our faculty and students an extraordinary opportunity to work, along with Dr. Sorensen, on this historic research study.”
For additional information about the CJP archive, visit http://www.albany.edu/scj/13189.php.