Law, Culture and the Humanities
This article has two goals. First, I demonstrate the challenges that “humanization” poses for the defense as an ideal of sentencing mitigation in U.S. capital trials. Capital case procedure largely neutralizes the sympathetic effects of humanization with jurors. In addition, potential mitigation witnesses inhabit affective environs that undermine any inclination to help the defense through sympathetic testimony. Second, I explain how defense advocacy responds to humanization’s challenges. Practitioners adopt an investigative mindset that focuses on forging the conditions to cultivate relationships with mitigation witnesses. This intensive affective labor translates back into the realm of procedure through strategic maneuvers intended to avoid trial and the performance of humanization.
Cheng, Jesse, "The Problem of Humanization: Affect and Investigative Mindset in U.S. Capital Mitigation" (2020). Social and Cultural Sciences Faculty Research and Publications. 284.
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