A study touted as one of the most comprehensive examinations to date of the modern administration of the death penalty in North Carolina found that killers of white victims are three times as likely to get the death penalty than killers of black victims, according to the Raleigh News & Observer.
The researchers, Michael L. Radelet, a sociology professor at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and Glenn L. Pierce, a research scientist in the Northeastern University school of criminology and criminal justice in Boston, examined 15,281 homicides in the state between Jan. 1, 1980, and Dec. 31, 2007. Their research determined that 368 of the cases reviewed resulted in death sentences.
The researchers looked at many factors, such as the number of victims and whether other crimes such as burglaries and robberies were committed during the homicide. They also tried to consider similar homicide cases.
Their analysis of the data showed that the odds of receiving a death sentence in cases where the victim was white were 2.96 times as high as the odds in cases with black victims.
Seth Edwards, a prosecutor who took over this month as president of the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys, said after a brief review of the study that prosecutors consider many factors when deciding whether to pursue a capital homicide case.
"I strongly disagree with the implication that prosecutors base their decision to seek the ultimate punishment on the race of the victim or the defendant," Edwards said in an e-mail message to the News & Observer. "Prosecutors do not look at skin color. We consider lots of things, but race is not one of them."
To read more: http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/07/23/v-print/593942/victims-race-skews-death-penalty.html
9 months ago