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February 4, 2010

"The Racial Geography of the Federal Death Penalty"

The title of this post is the title of this notable new piece about the federal death penalty now available via SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Scholars have devoted substantial attention to both the over-representation of African-Americans on federal death row and the disproportionate number of federal defendants charged capitally for the murder of white victims.  This attention has not provided an adequate explanation for (much less resolution of) these disquieting racial disparities.  Little research has addressed the unusual geography of the federal death penalty, in which a small number of jurisdictions are responsible for the vast majority of federal death sentences.  By addressing the unique geography, we identify a possible explanation for the racial distortions in the federal death penalty: that federal death sentences occur disproportionately where the expansion of the venire from the county to the district level has a dramatic demographic impact on the racial make-up of the jury.  This inquiry demonstrates that the conversation concerning who should make up the jury of twelve neighbors and peers - a discussion begun well before the founding of our Constitution — continues to have relevance today.

After documenting both the historical and racial relationships between place and the ability to seat an impartial jury, and the unique impact demographic shifts in the jury pool have on death penalty decision making, we propose three possible solutions: 1) A simple, democracy-enhancing fix: a return to the historical conception of the county as the place of vicinage in federal capital trials; 2) A Batson type three-step process for rooting out the influence of race on the decision to prosecute federally; 3) Voluntary measures by the Attorney General to mask demographic and location identifiers when deciding whether to provide federal death-authorization.  We explain why a return to county-level jury pools in federal capital cases (whether through statutory construction, legislative change, or through the authority of an fair-minded Attorney General) prospectively limits the impact of race on the operation of the federal death penalty, without establishing the intractability of the federal death penalty as a whole.  Finally, we observe that any effort to study the federal death penalty cannot merely address those federal cases in which the Attorney General has considered whether to approve an effort to seek the death penalty, but must also include an assessment of the cases prosecuted in state court that could be prosecuted federally and the prosecutorial decision concerning when and whether to prosecute in federal court.

February 4, 2010 at 05:33 PM | Permalink

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Comments

The utterances of these left wing extremists are highly offensive to the black murder victim. I hope families of victims find these horrible people and just beat their asses.

Black folks on death row are out of proportion to the population, but in proportion to the murders committed. The lawyer destroys the black family, exploding the rates of bastardy. He pulls police protection from their neighborhoods. He totally devalues the black murder victim in sentencing. Now, he wants to loose the vicious murderers instead of executing them.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 4, 2010 9:17:12 PM

I actually agree with rent-seeking-cult-enterprise boy on this one. All of this research into the racial geography of the federal death penalty ignores the painfully obvious: native-born American blacks will stop disproportionately getting death sentences once they stop committing a vastly disproportionate amount of America's murders. They account for around 12% of the population and commit about 49% of the murders. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why they get the death penalty proportionally more than, say, Japanese-Americans or, for that matter, sub-Saharan African immigrants to the United States.

Posted by: Alpino | Feb 5, 2010 1:05:35 AM

Alpino: any source for your assertion?

Posted by: Mark # 1 | Feb 5, 2010 3:52:16 AM

Here, from the DOJ.

http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/homicide/race.cfm

The number of whites killed by blacks is several times the number of blacks killed by whites. The lawyer has opened the hunting season on white males.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 5, 2010 4:57:22 AM

After an admittedly cursory search I've found this from MSNBC: "Black people represented an estimated 13 percent of the U.S. population in 2005, the latest data available, but were the victims of 49 percent of all murders and 15 percent of rapes, assaults and other nonfatal violent crimes nationwide.
Most of the black murder victims — 93 percent — were killed by other black people, the study found."

My math is lousy but I reckon that'd make blacks responsible for about 47% of all murders in the United States--a change from my original assertion that it was 49%.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20203888/

Posted by: Alpino | Feb 5, 2010 12:53:12 PM

It appears that many responders here prefer to deal with STATISTICS" developed by statiticians who are in the GOV emply rather than elsewhere..Case in point the DOJ stats?

It is also clear here that many blogers who are racist prefer to focus on African desc knowing full well that even though the crimes committed in porportion to the pop cannot be verifiably/numerically true. So what is done here to justify thier ignorance/hate is some will use fiction to make fact.

Back a over many centuries ago a group of racist white men passed a law called 1/8 rule and to this end i submit that
U.S. racialism is dichotomous. People are legally either White or African desc with no in-between. But real people are culturally and biologically continuous.

Millions of Americans have grandparents of both ethnic groups, and millions more have DNA markers from both Europe and Africa. How has the U.S. legal system resolved the contradiction in order to decide whether a person of dual heritage is White or Black?


Since the turn of the eighteenth century when the U.S. endogamous color line was invented, courts have employed four different methods of assigning racial memberships appearance, blood fraction, association, and the one-drop rule.

Most early cases focused on physical appearance. People who looked mostly African were usually assigned to the Black endogamous group. You might think that complexion, hair curliness, nose width, lip thickness, and the like would be important but, in fact, some cases depended upon the shape of the jaw or of the foot, or on purple- or blue-colored marks on certain parts of the body.

The rule of appearance was not symmetrical. Having a European appearance was decisive during the early republic, fell in importance throughout the nineteenth century, and became irrelevant by the Jim Crow era. On the other hand, having an African appearance has usually consigned you to the Black side of the endogamous color line throughout the past three centuries.

The earliest law regarding racial membership was passed in 1705 Virginia. It decreed that you were Black if you had one or more Black great-grandparents. If you had less than 1/8 Black blood you were White. In 1785, Virginia changed this to a 1/4 rule (which is why Jefferson’s son Eston Hemings appears as white in the 1830 Charlottesville census even though Jefferson repeatedly raped Sally Hemings from the time she was 12 yrs old?)).

Other states soon followed. By 1910, when Tennessee became the first state to switch to a one-drop rule, almost every state defined the color line via Afro-European blood fraction. In that year, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, South Carolina, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas defined a Black endogamous group member as one with one or more “negro” great-grandparents (1/8 or more Black).

Alabama used a 1/32 rule. Nebraska, Oregon, Virginia, and Michigan used as 1/4 rule (one or more “negro” grandparents). Ohio ruled that you were legally of the White endogamous group if you were mostly of European blood (1/2 rule).

Then came the ludicrous law of "The Law of Association???

In several cases, courts decided someone’s endogamous group membership based on the person’s having been already accepted into that side of the color line, and associated only with people on that side. According to some this yardstick was surprisingly common, especially in the lower south. It may seem odd that, in order to be allowed legally to exercise the privileges of White endogamous group membership, you had to demonstrate that you had already exercised those very privileges, but such was often the case.

Back in law school i studied this because i knew that the courts post Warren were on a mission to kill African desc in number..i wanted to overstand this diabolical thinking, which later in my career would lead me to the struggle for changes in the law which would protect the wrongfully accused..Are u still there..

Good

moving right along

Starting in 1910, most states switched to a racial determination criterion based on the mere possibility that a person had a Black ancestor, no matter how long ago. The color line thus became unrelated to appearance, association or blood fraction. Rasther, it became unrelated to anything tangible or provable. It became defined by the one-drop rule.

Three oddities of U.S. racial determination deserve further study. First, only the rules of blood fraction and the one-drop rule were ever written into statute by state legislatures. The rules of appearance and association were always left to caselaw and precedent.

Second, although the U.S. Census Bureau in 1960 decided that a person’s own choice should determine his or her race on the federal census, no other U.S. federal agency follows this self-identity policy. For example, in court cases today regarding workplace discrimination or affirmative action, your own opinion of your race/ethnicity is considered irrelevant.

Finally, many amerikkkns are ignorant of their nation’s history and project current beliefs onto the past. For example, there are pages after pages of bad research ie " Wikipedia page on the one-drop rule falsely states that “the one-drop rule was made law as early as 1705 in Virginia?

As every scholar knows, the 1705 Virginia law was a 1/8 blood-fraction law, and the first one-drop law was 1910 Tennessee. The tenacity with which ideologues vandalize Wikipedia is breathtaking, but it illustrates the problem. Many Americans fiercely want to believe that the color line is universal and has always existed, and that the one-drop rule was in effect during slavery. In fact, the endogamous Black/White color line exists nowhere but in the United States, it was invented in 1691, and the one-drop rule was first written into law in 1910 during reconstruction.

For details on the history of the racial determination cases, reasearch Legal History of the Color Line by Frank W. Sweet. For other facts and details see The Invention of the One-Drop Rule in the 1830s North.

So to all of u who think you know who makes up most of the prison pop..do your homework..u are off at leaast 92% Also if i were a few of u ..i would check my roots?

i use the small i to..say..that there are no BIG U's or SMALL..i's..have a good great of the yr..

PS Because i am a law prof and pro bono atty i will leave you with a thought..To all who hold supremacist ideology..ask yourself..who is your daddy, who was his daddy, his daddy, his daddy, his daddy and his daddy..and perhaps..who was his mother...Some of u may be surprised..

Adios Mio Ave maria..conjo

good day..

Posted by: Milagros Gacia Villamil | Apr 11, 2010 8:26:21 PM

Very good post. Made me realize I was totally wrong about this issue. I figure that one learns something new everyday. Mrs Right learned her lesson! Nice, informative website by the way.

Posted by: supra shoes | Nov 11, 2010 1:49:27 AM

I am Milagros G villamil ATTY at law and ALPINO took this copied and pasted and placed under his name NOT!
He is a fake and a perjure

It sppears that many responders here prefer to deal with STATISTICS" developed by statiticians who are in the GOV emply rather than elsewhere..Case in point the DOJ stats?

It is also clear here that many blogers who are racist prefer to focus on African desc knowing full well that even though the crimes committed in porportion to the pop cannot be verifiably/numerically true. So what is done here to justify thier ignorance/hate is some will use fiction to make fact.

Back a over many centuries ago a group of racist white men passed a law called 1/8 rule and to this end i submit that
U.S. racialism is dichotomous. People are legally either White or African desc with no in-between. But real people are culturally and biologically continuous.

Millions of Americans have grandparents of both ethnic groups, and millions more have DNA markers from both Europe and Africa. How has the U.S. legal system resolved the contradiction in order to decide whether a person of dual heritage is White or Black?


Since the turn of the eighteenth century when the U.S. endogamous color line was invented, courts have employed four different methods of assigning racial memberships appearance, blood fraction, association, and the one-drop rule.

Most early cases focused on physical appearance. People who looked mostly African were usually assigned to the Black endogamous group. You might think that complexion, hair curliness, nose width, lip thickness, and the like would be important but, in fact, some cases depended upon the shape of the jaw or of the foot, or on purple- or blue-colored marks on certain parts of the body.

The rule of appearance was not symmetrical. Having a European appearance was decisive during the early republic, fell in importance throughout the nineteenth century, and became irrelevant by the Jim Crow era. On the other hand, having an African appearance has usually consigned you to the Black side of the endogamous color line throughout the past three centuries.

The earliest law regarding racial membership was passed in 1705 Virginia. It decreed that you were Black if you had one or more Black great-grandparents. If you had less than 1/8 Black blood you were White. In 1785, Virginia changed this to a 1/4 rule (which is why Jefferson’s son Eston Hemings appears as white in the 1830 Charlottesville census even though Jefferson repeatedly raped Sally Hemings from the time she was 12 yrs old?)).

Other states soon followed. By 1910, when Tennessee became the first state to switch to a one-drop rule, almost every state defined the color line via Afro-European blood fraction. In that year, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, South Carolina, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas defined a Black endogamous group member as one with one or more “negro” great-grandparents (1/8 or more Black).

Alabama used a 1/32 rule. Nebraska, Oregon, Virginia, and Michigan used as 1/4 rule (one or more “negro” grandparents). Ohio ruled that you were legally of the White endogamous group if you were mostly of European blood (1/2 rule).

Then came the ludicrous law of "The Law of Association???

In several cases, courts decided someone’s endogamous group membership based on the person’s having been already accepted into that side of the color line, and associated only with people on that side. According to some this yardstick was surprisingly common, especially in the lower south. It may seem odd that, in order to be allowed legally to exercise the privileges of White endogamous group membership, you had to demonstrate that you had already exercised those very privileges, but such was often the case.

Back in law school i studied this because i knew that the courts post Warren were on a mission to kill African desc in number..i wanted to overstand this diabolical thinking, which later in my career would lead me to the struggle for changes in the law which would protect the wrongfully accused..Are u still there..

Good

moving right along

Starting in 1910, most states switched to a racial determination criterion based on the mere possibility that a person had a Black ancestor, no matter how long ago. The color line thus became unrelated to appearance, association or blood fraction. Rasther, it became unrelated to anything tangible or provable. It became defined by the one-drop rule.

Three oddities of U.S. racial determination deserve further study. First, only the rules of blood fraction and the one-drop rule were ever written into statute by state legislatures. The rules of appearance and association were always left to caselaw and precedent.

Second, although the U.S. Census Bureau in 1960 decided that a person’s own choice should determine his or her race on the federal census, no other U.S. federal agency follows this self-identity policy. For example, in court cases today regarding workplace discrimination or affirmative action, your own opinion of your race/ethnicity is considered irrelevant.

Finally, many amerikkkns are ignorant of their nation’s history and project current beliefs onto the past. For example, there are pages after pages of bad research ie " Wikipedia page on the one-drop rule falsely states that “the one-drop rule was made law as early as 1705 in Virginia?

As every scholar knows, the 1705 Virginia law was a 1/8 blood-fraction law, and the first one-drop law was 1910 Tennessee. The tenacity with which ideologues vandalize Wikipedia is breathtaking, but it illustrates the problem. Many Americans fiercely want to believe that the color line is universal and has always existed, and that the one-drop rule was in effect during slavery. In fact, the endogamous Black/White color line exists nowhere but in the United States, it was invented in 1691, and the one-drop rule was first written into law in 1910 during reconstruction.

For details on the history of the racial determination cases, reasearch Legal History of the Color Line by Frank W. Sweet. For other facts and details see The Invention of the One-Drop Rule in the 1830s North.

So to all of u who think you know who makes up most of the prison pop..do your homework..u are off at leaast 92% Also if i were a few of u ..i would check my roots?

i use the small i to..say..that there are no BIG U's or SMALL..i's..have a good great of the yr..

PS Because i am a law prof and pro bono atty i will leave you with a thought..To all who hold supremacist ideology..ask yourself..who is your daddy, who was his daddy, his daddy, his daddy, his daddy and his daddy..and perhaps..who was his mother...Some of u may be surprised..

Adios Mio Ave maria..conjo

good day..

Posted by: Milagros | Apr 7, 2013 9:35:55 AM

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