Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Oklahoma Commission: 'Serious flaws in capital sentencing system'

The Oklahoma Death Penalty Commission Report concluded that there were various serious and systemic flaws in Oklahoma’s capital sentencing system, reported The City Sentinel.
Included at the end of the Commission’s report is a separate study entitled “Race and Death Sentencing for Oklahoma Homicides, 1990-2012,” which examines “the possibility that the race of the defendant and/or victim affects who ends up on death row (Report at 211, 214).
Among the study’s key findings was the fact that “homicides with white victims are the most likely to result in a death sentence.” (Id. at 217.)
This study states that, in Oklahoma, criminal defendants – like Jones – who are accused and convicted of killing white victims are nearly two times more likely to receive a sentence of death than if the victim is nonwhite.
For homicides involving only male victims, a death sentence is approximately three times more likely in cases involving male victims when that victim is white, the report notes. 

In the document filed on June 23with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, Julius’s attorneys believe that the race study shows that his death sentence is unconstitutional.
A more recent study published in the North Carolina Law Review in 2016 titled “Untangling the Role of Race in Capital Charging and Sentencing in North Carolina,” 1990-2009 by Catherine Grosso and Barbara O’Brien, associate professors at Michigan State University’s College of Law also finds, “The white victim effect was the clearest and strongest finding in this study analysis,” Grosso says. “Race still matters in the criminal justice system, and it shouldn’t.
According to the Death Penalty Information Center over 75 percent of the murder victims in cases resulting in an execution were white, even though nationally only 50 percent of murder victims generally are white.

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