May 8, 2005
Interesting death penalty data from Ohio
As this article details, the AP has collected interesting data on Ohio capital prosecutions (details here and here). The article leads with the finding that "offenders facing a death penalty charge for killing a white person were twice as likely to go to death row than if they had killed a black victim." TChris at TalkLeft in this post spotlights the impact of race in this Ohio study, although The Idealist in this post has questions about the Ohio data and its reporting. Of course, DPIC is the place to go for loads of information about race and the administration of capital punishment.
Though the race issue always captures attention, I found the article's (mostly anecdotal) discussion of plea bargaining and of county-by-county differences in capital case processing to be most interesting aspect of the AP's research. And this follow-up article highlights that the high cost of capital prosecutions keeps small counties from being able to pursue death penalty cases the same way larger counties can.
Relatedly, I see that these same basic issues are being discussed by the folks at the Connecticut Law Blog: this post (referencing this interesting article) reviews the stalled investigation into whether the state's death penalty is racially biased, and this post (following up my query) details all the monies spent in all the litigation over whether serial killer Michael Ross will be allowed to volunteer for execution.
May 8, 2005 at 10:42 AM | Permalink
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I think your observations are very important and often overlooked. There is much more than race affecting sentencing disparities in capital cases. Race gets people interested and gets studies funded and read, but it may not be the biggest, or even one of the biggest, sources of unfairness in capital sentencing. Maybe we should identify and fix the biggest problems first.
Posted by: The Idealist | May 17, 2005 6:29:56 AM
I do not understand why society believes that the whole eye for an eye thing is okay. We, as human beings and as an "intelligent" country should understand that we cannot determine if someone should live or die. It is not our call. How are we teaching a lesson? We contradict ourselves by killing someone who has killed others. No matter how many or how few, we say that killing is wrong but we do it ourselves.
Posted by: shay | Aug 13, 2005 6:40:45 PM