« Some critical reflections on Prez Obama's clemency efforts and some ideas about what could have been | Main | Former federal drug warriors assail sentencing reform efforts because "drug dealing is a violent crime" »

May 9, 2016

"Louisiana’s Color­-Coded Death Penalty"

The title of this post is the headline of this new New York Times editorial, which gets started this way:

The last time a white person in Louisiana was executed for a crime against a black person was in 1752, when a soldier named Pierre Antoine Dochenet was hanged after attempting to stab two enslaved black women to death with his bayonet.

This is just one of many grim facts in a new report describing the history of capital punishment in Louisiana and analyzing the outcome of every death sentence imposed in that state since 1976, when the Supreme Court reversed its brief moratorium on executions and allowed them to resume.

Racism has always been at the heart of the American death penalty. But the report, in the current issue of The Journal of Race, Gender, and Poverty, drives home the extent to which capital punishment, supposedly reserved for the “worst of the worst,” is governed by skin color.

In Louisiana, a black man is 30 times as likely to be sentenced to death for killing a white woman as for killing a black man. Regardless of the offender’s race, death sentences are six times as likely — and executions 14 times as likely — when the victim is white rather than black.

May 9, 2016 at 07:07 AM | Permalink

Comments

"In Louisiana, a black man is 30 times as likely to be sentenced to death for killing a white woman as for killing a black man."

Just so, just so. This is the morally normative outcome. If a white woman was in the presence of a black man that is a sure sign that she was infected by BBC fever. killing the black man is the best way to end this disease.

Posted by: Daniel | May 9, 2016 12:57:12 PM

"Racism has always been at the heart of the American death penalty. But the report, in the current issue of The Journal of Race, Gender, and Poverty, drives home the extent to which capital punishment, supposedly reserved for the “worst of the worst,” is governed by skin color."

One of the more powerful argument against the imposition of the death penalty.

Posted by: Michael R. Levine | May 9, 2016 1:34:38 PM

How many non-hispanic white on black capital murders are there in Louisiana in any given year?

Posted by: federalist | May 10, 2016 6:18:54 AM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB