Race and the Death Penalty

There is no question that greatly contributing to the brokenness of the death penalty system is the issue of racial bias.  Since 1977, the overwhelming majority of death row defendants (80%) have been executed for killing white victims, although whites make up only 50% percent of all homicide victims. A North Carolina study, based on data from 502 murders occurring between 1993 and 1997 found that defendants whose victims are white are 3.5 times more likely to be sentenced to death than those with non-white victims.  According to an article in today’s New York Times, racial disparity in the selection of jurors runs rampant in several Southern states. The criminal justice system is supposed to be color blind when it comes to race. Unfortunately, that is not the case.  

Read article here.

(Pictured: stained glass Lady Justice by Nanci Phelan)

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