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Arguing Death Penalty & Race

Neubauer, David W. (2001) Debating crime: Rhetoric and reality. Belmont, CA:
Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.

A great deal of debate exists about the existence and various applications of the death penalty in the U.S. Since the year 2002 alone, the U.S. Supreme Court has declared the execution of juveniles and mentally retarded persons unconstitutional (see the isssues on Juveniles and Mental Retardation on the Death Penalty Information Center Web site at
http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/). Today, an ongoing debate surrounds evidence that a disproportionate number of minorities exist among criminals convicted of capital murder, resulting in a high ratio of minorities on death row.

* In your opinion, are minorities overrepresented on death row? Explain your rationale.
* Cite arguments and statistics that support your opinion.

On a separate sheet explain the opinion that differs from your own and argue your perspective explaining why your opinion is valid. Support your argument with case examples or statistics.

Thank You.

Solution Preview

Dear Student,
It is rather difficult to limit discussion including facts within the word limit your post imposed so i took the liberty of dividing the solution into two to focus on the issues. I have indicated references from the site you have indicated that became my basis for the solution below. They are good sources of statistics, facts & figures when defending an opinion so visit the indicated pages if you can.

OTA 105878

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Current Studies on Capital Punishment & Race

"It is tempting to pretend that minorities on death row share a fate in no way connected to our own, that our treatment of them sounds no echoes beyond the chambers in which they die. Such an illusion is ultimately corrosive, for the reverberations of injustice are not so easily confined. "
-Justice William Brennan (1987)

For Richard Dieter, Executive Director of the Death Penalty Information Center, capital punishment throughout US History has always been affected by race from the days of slavery to Jim Crow laws; and this in his observation is not a remnant of the past. Racial bias in death penalty is a current injustice that still happens today in a Justice System that espouses equality. He based his conclusion upon two recently released studies on the matter. The first, by Law Professor David Baldus & Statistician George Woodworth utilised quantitative research methods to analyse the status of race in death penalty convictions ...

Solution Summary

The solution looks at statistics & present cases of convicts facing the death penalty in relation to their race/ethnicity and state of soc ial culpability (minors & mentally retardate cases). While it is concise it points out key issues on these topics of interest and debate in the American Criminal Justice System. Web resources are outlined and used as references aside from the book of Neubauer on Criminology currently used as a resource book in the study of said science in the US. A word version is attached.

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