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SCREENING OF JURORS MOCKS FAIRNESS OF DEATH PENALTY

Long ago in New York City, when the state had a death-penalty law not unlike what is now being put forward, I was twice called to jury duty. This experience raises a question of one side effect I have not yet heard used against this barbaric and futile "deterrent."

Upon arrival at the court, I was given a questionnaire to complete. It asked, among other things, my view on the death penalty. I said I was firmly opposed, and I was immediately transferred from criminal to civil court.

Even there, I was twice excused because a lawyer argued that my work for The American Friends Service Committee would predispose me to be too lenient. Doesn't this kind of prescreening mock the very principle of trial by a random group of one's peers?

Let us hope those who will now weigh the return to the old eye-for-an-eye violence will ponder as well the judging of the jurors that seems to be part of current practice.

BARBARA WILLIAMS
Wellsville

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