“The law may be color-blind as it is written, but not as it is enforced.” Racial bias in the death penalty can be traced back to Furman v. Georgia, where handing down the death penalty sentence, unfairly, constituted as a cruel and unusual punishment, violating the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. The reinstatement of the death penalty with its new sentencing guidelines, implemented by the Supreme Court, was to ensure that the death penalty sentence was used in a constitutional way. Despite these guidelines, somehow, racial bias has found a way to thrive. It has been documented that an individual is more likely to receive the death penalty in a case where the victim is White than in cases where the victim is Black. Furthermore, it has been documented that in some jurisdictions, Black defendants are given the death penalty …show more content…
2) Death sentences were sought or imposed significantly more frequently as punishment for capital offenses against persons of one race than as punishment of capital offenses against persons of another race. 3) Race was a significant factor in decisions to exercise peremptory challenges during jury selection. Under the Act, if a defendant successfully shows that racial considerations played a significant part in the prosecution’s decision to seek or impose the death sentence, the court is required to vacate the death sentence and to resentence the defendant to life imprisonment without the possibility of
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Secondary Annotated Bibliography Brewer, Thomas W. "Race and Jurors' Receptivity to Mitigation in Capital Cases: The Effect of Jurors', Defendants', and Victims' Race in Combination. " Law and Human Behavior 28, no. 5 (2004): 529-45. The article begins by explaining the importance of Furman v. Gerogia (1972). Furman v. Gerogia (1972) was a Supreme Court case that decided that death sentences were being handed down in an arbitrary and standard less manner.
In McClesky v. Kemp the Supreme Court held that a study showing the death penalty in Georgia was imposed on black defendants disproportionately to white defendants failed to establish that any of the decision makers involved in the process acted with a discriminatory purpose. McClesky is a notable case in several respects. First, it highlighted the integrated nature of the criminal justice system and how each component functions to reach a certain result. Second, it emphasized the debate on which actors in the justice system have the most power and what role that power plays in reaching the result. Third, the case also underscored the importance on prosecutors keeping records of their decisions at varying stages of the criminal justice process.
In “The Color of Justice,” Alexander addresses the intersection of race with the justice system. She details a study comparing the treatment of Black and White victims in homicide cases, where “defendants charged with killing white victims received the death penalty eleven times more often than defendants charged with killing black victims. Georgia prosecutors seemed largely to blame for the disparity; they sought the death penalty 70 percent of cases involving black defendants and white victim, but only 19 percent of cases involving white defendants and black victims” (Alexander 110). These studies indicate the vast disparity between the treatment of White victims and Black victims. This implies a harsher treatment against Black victims, because these cases were sought by the Georgia prosecution.
The author’s studies indicate that the criminal justice system choose majority of their targets and suspects predominantly by race. According to studies conducted by the U. S Department of Justice, the imprisonment rate by race per 100,000 residents over 3,000 black males were imprisoned in the year 2000 compared to white males imprisonment rate of less than 500. This shows that conviction of crime, robbery, murder, and other violence and drug related crimes has a clear discrepancy across racial groups.
This report is helpful because it highlights how race is influenced on the death penalty. It will help me see if the death penalty is racially neutral. Coker, D. (2003). Addressing the real world of racial injustice in the criminal justice system. The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology.
Source A argues that disparities between blacks and whites have been appalling in court. According to Source A, “If a black person kills a white person, they are twice as likely to receive the death sentence as white person who kills a black person” (2). This reveals that a black person has a higher rate of receiving the death sentence when tried for murdering a white person. If a white person is tried for a killing of a black person they have a 50% chance of getting the death sentence, then that means that a black person would receive a 100% chance of getting the death sentence for killing a white person.
In ninety-six percent of states where they have reviewed cases of race and the death penalty there had been a pattern of race-of-victim or race-of-defendant discrimination, or even both (DPIC). The race of a defendant or a victim should not influence people in whether or not someone should die. Even if they have done terrible things, a life is still a
The color of the skin of the victim or defendant is a significant and unacceptable factor in determining who gets the death penalty in America. We have no knowledge of how a person may think, and giving a judge and jury the power to decide on someone's life can result in unfair judgments. “Today, there is growing evidence that racial bias continues in society, particularly within the criminal justice system. The existence of implicit racial bias among some law enforcement officers, witnesses, jurors, and others allows harsher punishment of minorities, even without legal sanction or intention. Although these prejudices are hard to uproot, the unfair application of the death penalty could be halted by eliminating that sentencing option altogether”(Dunham).
The New York Times Bestseller book, Just Mercy, entails true accounts of a young African- American lawyer, Bryan Stevenson, about the unjust criminal justice system of the United States. Stevenson embarks on sharing his first- hand encounters of racial prejudice and corruption against death row inmates and himself. Thus, giving vivid images of how race and social class can play a big part in the fates of people in America. After reading Just Mercy, it has given me a validation of what I’ve already known about the justice system against African-Americans especially in the South, with prior knowledge of accounts about black Americans and the deep bigotry against them. In which, my race plays an immense part of cruelly punishing black Americans without further consideration of the circumstances that led to the crime
Opening- Society today are setting some kids up for the prison system and some other up other kids for the education system Talk about school and prison: Prison a place where most of us never want to go. It's a horrible place filled with criminals from the worst kind to the petty criminal's. School what can you say about school it's full of bullies, homework, annoying teachers, raging hormones and worst of all cooties. Statists of race going to Prison: Did you know 1 in every 15 African American men and 1 in every 36 Hispanic men are incarcerated in comparison to 1 in every 106 white men.
Unfortunately, there are racial disparities in the United States in the legal system. Prison sentences imposed on African American males in the federal system are nearly 20 percent longer than white males convicted of similar crimes. The 1994 Crime Bill signed by President Clinton established mandatory minimum sentences. African American and Latino offenders sentenced in state and federal courts face greater odds of incarceration than white offenders who are in similar situations and receive longer sentences than whites in some jurisdictions. Research has shown that race plays a significant role in determination on which homicide cases resulted in death sentences.
1930-1950 Over the years the face of police brutality has changed. The face of police brutality in the early 1900’s is different than what you would think of as police brutality in today’s society. Part of this change is due to the credibility of a black person’s testimony in the eyes of the law. In the 1930’s black people technically the same rights as their white counterparts but were not treated in the same way.
Another issue that was discussed is the inequality of death penalty in practice. There have been serious issues with racial discrimination. For reference in cases with white victims and black defendants convictions occurred twenty two percent of the time while with black victims and white defendants with percentage dropped to a measly three
Studies conducted by the people behind the death penalty information center, have shown that African Americans were over 80 percent of the people condemned by the death penalty in Pennsylvania. In the united states 82% of the studies the race of the victim was found to influence the likelihood of being charged with capital murder or receiving the death penalty. Those who murdered whites were found more likely to be sentenced to death than those who murdered blacks (deathpenaltyinfo). 5. Counterclaim
The intention of my research is to expose the racist tactics in the criminal justice system that have been camouflaged. I am prepared to explain how racism contributes to the vast number of incarcerated African Americans, and other minorities. The criminal justice system has created and perpetuated racial hierarchy in the United States, and has done so throughout history. I propose the question: Are minorities being targeted within the Criminal Justice System? African Americans are criminalized and targeted because of their skin color, and it is not fair.