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February 25, 2011

"Chivalry is Not Dead: Murder, Gender, and the Death Penalty"

The title of this post is the title of this notable new paper available via SSRN by Steven Shatz and Naomi Shatz.  Here is the abstract:

Chivalry -- that set of values and code of conduct for the medieval knightly class -- has long influenced American law, from Supreme Court decisions to substantive criminal law doctrines and the administration of criminal justice.  The chivalrous knight was enjoined to seek honor and defend it through violence and, in a society which enforced strict gender roles, to show gallantry toward "ladies" of the same class, except for the women of the knight's own household, over whom he exercised complete authority.  This article explores, for the first time, whether these chivalric values might explain sentencing outcomes in capital cases.

The data for the article comes from our original study of 1299 first degree murder cases in California, whose death penalty scheme accords prosecutors and juries virtually unlimited discretion in making the death-selection decision.  We examine sentencing outcomes for three particular types of murder where a "chivalry effect" might be expected -- gang murders, rape murders and domestic violence murders.  In cases involving single victims, the results were striking.  In gang murders, the death sentence rate was less than one-tenth the overall death sentence.  By contrast, in rape murder cases, the death sentence rate was nine times the overall death sentence rate.  The death sentence rate for single-victim domestic violence murders was roughly 25% lower than the overall death sentence rate. We also examined, through this study and earlier California studies, more general data on gender disparities in death sentencing and found substantial gender-of-defendant and gender-of-victim disparities.  Women guilty of capital murder are far less likely than men to be sentenced to death, and defendants who kill women are far more likely to be sentenced to death than defendants who kill men.  We argue that all of these findings are consistent with chivalric norms, and we conclude that, in the prosecutors' decisions to seek death and juries' decisions to impose it, chivalry appears to be alive and well.

February 25, 2011 at 11:47 AM | Permalink


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Chivalry is one of the greatest virtues passed down to this generation. Lawyers should take great consideration in applying this in their law practice, with full force of the law. I'm a student

Posted by: paul | Feb 25, 2011 8:46:22 PM

The disparity described is a mirror image of racial disparity. We need a gender justice act. The feminist lawyer and its male running dogs have imposed a value scale on the lives of murder victims. It is inverse to the actual value of life as measured by productivity. The result? Actual murder rates are inversely proportional to the value on that scale. White females, the constituents of the vile feminist lawyer have the lowest murder victimization rate. What goes unsaid? Lawyers have the lowest crime victimization rates across the board, especially vile feminist lawyers, the most protected group. I will bet 10 cents the rate is consistently zero murder victims, year after year, decade after decade. The most evil have the greatest protection from the criminal cult enterprise that is the lawyer profession.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 26, 2011 11:26:27 AM

I've noticed this trend for a long time. Women commit 1 in 8 murders, but fill just 1 in 60 cells on death row. They are far more likely to receive clemency. 12 women have been executed and 12 others granted executive clemency since 1976. The rates of clemency for men are less than 1/5th that of executions. Even states that are relatively prodeath penalty show deference to women who have committed horrendous crimes. Ohio has sentenced eight women to death since the 80's, all but one of whom got a reduced sentence. The other had to be sentenced to death twice and will likely die on death row. When one Ohio governor left office in 1991, he commuted the death sentences of all six women on death row. This included child killers, women who murdered the elderly and a serial killer. Compare that to just two men he granted clemency to, out of more than 100 on death row.

Posted by: MikeinCT | Feb 26, 2011 1:54:44 PM

In 1910, it was part of the culture. The KKK was heroic and correct.

In 2010, it is part of the culture. Feminism is assumed to be heroic and correct.

As we are sickened by the views and the genocidal maniac behavior of the lawyer founded and run KKK, so shall the people of 2110 be sickened by the hate group views and genocidal maniac behavior of the lawyer founded and run feminism. Before we get too huffy about Good Germans, Tootsies, Kmer Rouge, we should look in the mirror. We have eradicated an excess of 250,000 black male murder victims in the past 50 years. That means the vile feminist lawyer and its male running dogs are doing the total of the 5000 lynchings of the KKK every year, with no exceptions. This mini slow motion holocaust is dwarfed by our big time rapid holocaust of the abortion of viable babies, most of whom had dark skins. That no one objects just means our vile feminist lawyers are far slicker than the KKK, Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao, but not any less deadly. The left killed 100 million people to impose its failed ideology. The feminist genocidal maniac program is in that tradition of the left. When you destroy the American family, the American government must step in to provide what males used to. Most of the social welfare workers are female, and their agencies are most often led by female lawyers. Their regulations are certainly written by female lawyers.

There is also an attack on the upbringing of black folks, most of whom remain in a Southern culture. Ordinary home discipline is labeled as abuse, and a disproportionate number of black kids are removed and placed in white families.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 26, 2011 2:44:46 PM

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