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August 2, 2009

Famed researchers write in support of NC Racial Justice Act

Thanks to this post at DPIC, I see that renowned researchers David Baldus and George Woodworth have penned an op-ed supporting North Carolina's proposed Racial Justice Act. Here is how the piece starts:

The various attacks on the proposed North Carolina Racial Justice Act, a bill that would allow capital defendants to present claims of racial bias to the court, are, at best, based on a lack of understanding, and at worst, emotional and misleading arguments used in an effort to obscure the issues.

Some critics claim that the use of statistics to show racial bias in death penalty cases is inappropriate, but these critics offer no alternatives. Statistical analysis provides the only way to understand the role of racial bias in a system. Rigorous statistical analyses, grounded in actual information about the crimes and the charging and sentencing decisions relating to them, facilitate a nuanced understanding of the real role of race. The only alternative is willful blindness.

Closing the door to this kind of analysis closes the door to an informed debate. It is for this reason that statistical analyses are used routinely and properly in housing and employment discrimination cases.

Some critics claim that there is no evidence of racial discrimination in the death penalty system. The enormity of this canard is breathtaking. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has said that racial discrimination in capital punishment is "real, acknowledged in the decisions" of the Supreme Court, and "ineradicable."

August 2, 2009 at 09:26 PM | Permalink


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Yes, black murder victims are devalued by the racist lawyer. Black murderers are shielded by the lawyer. Race statistics demand that that more killers of black folks get the death penalty.

The lawyer lives in an upside down world in the Twilight Zone. Remember that episode where the bandages come off after plastic surgery that tragically failed. The poor patient appears beautiful to us, and the staff trying to help her look normal are the monsters.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Aug 2, 2009 9:59:33 PM

Does race sometimes play a role in death sentences? How can it not? But that's the price you pay for having a discretionary system. If a white juror out of racial favoritism wants to exempt a white killer (e.g., Burmeister) from death, what can be done about it? That's reality. But we also have a democracy, and the death penalty has been chosen. So are we going to let a few cases thwart democracy here.

Posted by: federalist | Aug 3, 2009 12:31:48 PM

I'm surprised that Justice Scalia so readily admitted such a fact. If HE of all people can admit to it then surely everyone else can too?

Posted by: John | Nov 27, 2009 1:04:26 PM

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