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Study Finds Racial Imbalance on Death Row

 
 
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 12:30 pm
Quote:
Study Finds Racial Imbalance on Death Row

By DAVID KRAVETS
Associated Press Writer

September 22, 2005, 9:28 AM EDT

SAN FRANCISCO -- More condemned men and women are on California's death row for killing whites than for murdering people of any other race, despite there being more black and Hispanic murder victims, according to a new study.

The study, to be published in the Santa Clara Law Review, tallied the races of California homicide victims in the 1990s.

It concluded suspects who murdered whites were almost four times more likely to be sentenced to death than those who killed Hispanics, and three times more likely to be sentenced to death than those who killed blacks.

"To put it bluntly, there's apparently different values being placed on victims from different racial and ethnic groups," said Northeastern University criminal justice professor Glenn Pierce, a co-author of the study. "That's what the pattern would suggest."

When it came to the race of the defendant, the study concluded race did not contribute significantly to whether prosecutors sought the death penalty or jurors recommended death.

Instead, it was the race of the victim that was paramount.

Pierce said his conclusions in "The Impact of Legally Inappropriate Factors on Death Sentencing for California Homicides, 1990-1999" mirrored studies in other states.

The study focused on 263 California death sentences in the 1990s. There were 302 death sentences issued during that time, but the study eliminated 39 cases that involved multiple victims of different races or ethnic groups.

Of the 263 sentences, 142 were handed down for killing whites, 44 for killing blacks, 52 for killing Hispanics and 25 for killing victims of other races.

During the same period, killed were 8,136 whites, 9,338 blacks, 14,089 Hispanics and 2,037 victims of other races.

The study also noted that some counties, particularly rural ones, issued death sentences disproportionately to metropolitan areas.

Rural Kern County, for example, issued 10 death sentences in the 1990s for 661 murders. San Francisco had 910 murders, but prosecutors there never sought the death penalty.

"This study forced the people in California to confront the unfairness of how the death penalty is applied in this state," said Ellen Kreitzberg, a Santa Clara University professor and director of its Death Penalty College. "The decision of who will live and who will die in California turns on arbitrary and unlawful factors such as the race and ethnicity of the murder victim or the location where the murder was committed."

Kent Scheidegger, director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, noted that the study showed California did not racially discriminate against murder defendants. He called that "an accomplishment to be celebrated."

"It's not racial prejudice. It's the choice of the voters in a county," Scheidegger said. "The voters of Kern elect a harsher DA. The voters in San Francisco select a DA who doesn't do the death penalty at all. That's democracy."

In 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court, ruling in a Georgia case, said studies like California's were not grounds for reversing death cases, unless racial bias could be proven by an individual defendant.

California has 645 inmates on death row. It has executed 11 people since reinstating the death penalty in 1977.
Copyright 2005 Newsday Inc.


Related links:

Santa Clara Law Review
McCleskey v. Kemp (opinion)
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 3,088 • Replies: 31
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 12:56 pm
Walter, This is very old news. We also find imbalance in the prosecution of crimes differently between colors.
0 Replies
 
Ticomaya
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 12:57 pm
There are seven men currently on Kansas' "death row." Of this group, 5 are white, 2 are black.

Gary Kleypas, convicted for the 1996 rape-murder of Carrie Williams in Pittsburg, Kansas. The Kansas Supreme Court, in its review of his case, found serious problems with the death penalty statute and required that the penalty phase of the Kleypas case be revisited. (Crawford County) [WHITE MALE]
http://img163.imageshack.us/img163/91/gk8ib.th.jpg

Michael Marsh, convicted for the killings of Marry Ane and Marry Elizabeth Pusch. (Sedgwick County) [WHITE MALE]
http://img163.imageshack.us/img163/4343/mm8jv.th.jpg

Gavin Scott, convicted of the murders of Doug and Beth Brittain. (Sedgwick County) [WHITE MALE]
http://img163.imageshack.us/img163/6879/gs5yu.th.jpg

Reginald Carr, convicted of capital murder for the December 15, 2000 murders of Jason Befort, Brad Heyka, Heather Muller, and Aaron Sander and of first degree murder (non-capital) for killing Ann Walenta four days before the quadruple murder. (Sedgwick County) [BLACK MALE]
http://img121.imageshack.us/img121/1644/rc4gx.th.jpg

Jonathan Carr, convicted of the same five murders as his older brother Reginald. (Sedgwick County) [BLACK MALE]
http://img163.imageshack.us/img163/6126/jc6ri.th.jpg

John E.Robinson, Sr., convicted of capital murder in the deaths of Izabel Lewicka and Suzette Trouten and of first degree murder in the case of Lisa Stasi, who disappeared in 1985 and was never found. (Johnson County) [WHITE MALE]
http://img163.imageshack.us/img163/3928/jr9yi.th.jpg

Douglas Belt was convicted in November 2004 of capital murder, attempted rape and aggravated arson in the killing of Lucille Gallegos in west Wichita. (Sedgwick County) [WHITE MALE]
http://img163.imageshack.us/img163/4251/db6gd.th.jpg
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 12:57 pm
cicerone imposter wrote:
Walter, This is very old news.


I sincerely doubt that, c.i., since the study isn't even published yet :wink:
0 Replies
 
snood
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 01:17 pm
The justice system is skewed racially. D-u-h-h...
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 01:23 pm
Ticomaya wrote:
There are seven men currently on Kansas' "death row." Of this group, 5 are white, 2 are black.


It might well be that I totally misunderstood that article about the study.

But I thought, it said "it was the race of the victim that was paramount"?
0 Replies
 
dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 01:23 pm
tico, the report isn't about the race of those on death row. but race of the victims.
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Ticomaya
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 01:31 pm
Oh, well that's different. Nevermind.

http://img124.imageshack.us/img124/8662/gr1oc.jpg
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 01:31 pm
And it's not about Kansas either :wink:

Quote:
More condemned men and women are on California's death row for killing whites than for murdering people of any other race...
0 Replies
 
dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 01:32 pm
there, walter beat me to it.

plus, two to five is not representative of the real proportions in the society etiher, right? what's the percentage of african americans? In 1990 it was about 12% (11.7). so i don't quite get why you posted those seven pictures other than to point out the nature of their crimes.

124 countries abolished death penalty in law or practice. I hope all the rest will jump on board eventually.
0 Replies
 
snood
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 01:34 pm
"In 82% of the studies [reviewed], race of the victim was found to influence the likelihood of being charged with capital murder or receiving the death penalty, i.e., those who murdered whites were found more likely to be sentenced to death than those who murdered blacks."
- United States General Accounting Office, Death Penalty Sentencing, February 1990
0 Replies
 
Ticomaya
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 01:35 pm
Well the nature of their crimes is horrific, for the most part. Of course the BTK killer won't get the death penalty, because he killed before the dp was reinstated in 1994 ... but he's quite deserving of it, as are the lot of the group above.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 01:46 pm
The same phenomenon appears here, as I'm sure it does in many other countries.

Judges/juries seem to value some people's lives more than others - and some significantly less.

Here it is the aboriginal population that is over-represented in the prison population - and crimes against aboriginal victims seem to result in lesser charges.
0 Replies
 
dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 01:52 pm
i personally would not opt to send anyone to death in any way. no, not even a terrible serial killer. death penalty is an act of vengeance. it has no corrective elements. it does not serve as a deterrent, it is not cheaper, it is not moral. but i digress, we're talking about racial issues.
0 Replies
 
Ticomaya
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 02:02 pm
There are a lot of factors involved, not just juries. The prosecutors have to find the crime deserving of the death penalty in the first instance.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 02:12 pm
Ticomaya wrote:
There are a lot of factors involved, not just juries. The prosecutors have to find the crime deserving of the death penalty in the first instance.


Quote:
When it came to the race of the defendant, the study concluded race did not contribute significantly to whether prosecutors sought the death penalty or jurors recommended death.
0 Replies
 
Bella Dea
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 02:14 pm
Wanna see a great movie or read a great book that reflects the injustice of our justice system? Watch or read Time to Kill.

The part that I will always remember when he is trying to make the jury color blind. We know a black girl is the victim.

"I want to tell you a story. I'm going to ask you all to close your eyes while I tell you the story. I want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to yourselves. Go ahead. Close your eyes, please. This is a story about a little girl walking home from the grocery store one sunny afternoon. I want you to picture this little girl. Suddenly a truck races up. Two men jump out and grab her. They drag her into a nearby field and they tie her up and they rip her clothes from her body. Now they climb on. First one, then the other, raping her, shattering everything innocent and pure with a vicious thrust in a fog of drunken breath and sweat. And when they're done, after they've killed her tiny womb, murdered any chance for her to have children, to have life beyond her own, they decide to use her for target practice. They start throwing full beer cans at her. They throw them so hard that it tears the flesh all the way to her bones. Then they urinate on her. Now comes the hanging. They have a rope. They tie a noose. Imagine the noose going tight around her neck and with a sudden blinding jerk she's pulled into the air and her feet and legs go kicking. They don't find the ground. The hanging branch isn't strong enough. It snaps and she falls back to the earth. So they pick her up, throw her in the back of the truck and drive out to Foggy Creek Bridge. Pitch her over the edge. And she drops some thirty feet down to the creek bottom below. Can you see her? Her raped, beaten, broken body soaked in their urine, soaked in their semen, soaked in her blood, left to die. Can you see her? I want you to picture that little girl. Now imagine she's white."
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 02:21 pm
As I recall, some studies also showed that black crimes against blacks were more frequent than black against whites.
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 02:28 pm
Re: Study Finds Racial Imbalance on Death Row
Walter Hinteler wrote:
Quote:
Study Finds Racial Imbalance on Death Row

By DAVID KRAVETS
Associated Press Writer

September 22, 2005, 9:28 AM EDT

SAN FRANCISCO -- More condemned men and women are on California's death row...

California has 645 inmates on death row. It has executed 11 people since reinstating the death penalty in 1977.
Copyright 2005 Newsday Inc.


Related links:

Santa Clara Law Review
McCleskey v. Kemp (opinion)

I don't suppose you find anything, however insignificant, wrong with Germany?
0 Replies
 
dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 02:39 pm
Yes, some 20-30% of murders are interracial (too tired to google up the stats). Crime is a function of poverty and bad social conditions - thus most of it happens in inner cities which were deserted by the caucasian population during white flight. So it makes sense that most of it happens inside within the communities. Has nothing to do with race, but with social conditions minorities live in. It's a direct function of de facto seggregation and unequal living conditions. My humble opinion, though there is plenty of literature out there. DiIulio writes about crime and race, though I didn't find an article I recall reading few years back. I'll post it if I find it.
0 Replies
 
 

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