Bias Against Minorities in Death Penalty Sentences  Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

bias against minorities in death penalty sentences. The writer uses a research approach to analyze this hypothesis. One of the things the writer does is critique literature that has already been published about the topic. At that point the writer discusses the literature's impact and validity and draws an independent conclusion. There were seven sources used to complete this paper.

America has waffled on the topic of capital punishment since the nation's infancy. There are some eras in which the nation's people stood firmly behind the death penalty and believed the adage "an eye for an eye," while at other times the voters have stopped the allowance of execution as a punishment. With each change there are those who are advocates and those who are detractors from the principle itself. Whether or not the death penalty is a viable solution for crime diversion is still under debate. In addition to the use of the death penalty being debated there is a large debate in America about the bias shown to whites when it comes to the use of the death penalty. Many people believe that the minority and the poor in this country are executed at a far more frequent rate than their white counterparts.

America uses the death penalty as a punishment for the worst imaginable crimes that are committed by the criminals. Once a defendant is found guilty of a capital crime the sentencing often has perimeters that include the death penalty as one of the options. The death penalty is not always handed down. There are other options such as life without parole, life with the possibility of parole or other time to be served. The prosecution presents not only the case but when the prosecution wants the defendant to receive the death penalty they let the court know at the outset that this is the desire of the prosecutory office. In recent years there has been much focus on the seeming inequality of the death penalty sentences being handed down. Groups who study the statistics and cases insist that the majority of those who have historically been put to death have been poor non-white defendants. Those who are white and are convicted have more of a chance of receiving prison time than death according to those who study the statistics.

The purpose of the study is to determine whether or not there is a bias shown to blacks and other minorities when compared to their white counterparts and whether or not the poverty level of the defendant is also a factor in the sentencing severity.

In addition the poverty level of the defendant is often a factor in whether or not the death penalty is imposed. If the hypothesis proves out to be true there are several factors that may be contributing to the situation. Poverty is one of the factors that is believed to be a contributing factor…

Sources Used in Document:

Elisabeth Frater, WHITE HOUSE: Testing the Federal Death Penalty., National Journal, 12-02-2000.

Katz, Michael. The Undeserving Poor. New York: Pantheon Books, 1989.

Petersilia, J. "Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System: A Summary." Crime and Delinquency 31 (1985): 28.

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