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Is Justice Blind in the Capital of Capital Punishment?

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Abstract:

Despite decades of scholarship on race and capital punishment, most research fails to: focus on the most active death jurisdictions, consider the treatment of Hispanics, examine whether the race or socioeconomic status of the victim is the critical predictor of the defendant’s fate, or provide a plausible solution to the problem. To address such limitations, I examined the impact of race on the District Attorney’s (DA) decision to pursue a death trial and the jurors’ decision to impose a death sentence against adult defendants indicted for capital murder in Harris County (Houston), Texas from 1992 to 1999 (n=504). The results indicate that the DA was more apt to pursue death trials against black defendants than white defendants. The disparity stems from an intriguing pattern: the DA pursued death trials against black defendants and white defendants at the same rate, but controlling for confounders revealed differential treatment because black defendant cases were less “serious.” The DA was also more apt to pursue death trials on behalf of white victims and affluent victims, compared to black victims and non-affluent victims. No differences were found between Hispanics and whites. Because jurors sentenced defendants to death in an evenhanded manner, the race discrepancies that originated in the DA’s office are duplicated in the final disposition of cases. I draw on Donald Black’s (1989) concept of the desocialization of law to provide a realistic proposal for eliminating the impact of race on capital punishment.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

defend (242), victim (218), death (215), race (161), capit (159), murder (147), case (129), 1 (124), white (115), trial (113), black (91), sentenc (75), da (69), punish (69), pursu (65), texa (64), hispan (58), odd (57), counti (50), research (45), decis (43),

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race, capital punishment
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Name: American Sociological Association
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http://www.asanet.org


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MLA Citation:

Phillips, Scott. "Is Justice Blind in the Capital of Capital Punishment?" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, TBA, New York, New York City, Aug 11, 2007 <Not Available>. 2013-12-15 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p182843_index.html>

APA Citation:

Phillips, S. , 2007-08-11 "Is Justice Blind in the Capital of Capital Punishment?" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, TBA, New York, New York City Online <PDF>. 2013-12-15 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p182843_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: Despite decades of scholarship on race and capital punishment, most research fails to: focus on the most active death jurisdictions, consider the treatment of Hispanics, examine whether the race or socioeconomic status of the victim is the critical predictor of the defendant’s fate, or provide a plausible solution to the problem. To address such limitations, I examined the impact of race on the District Attorney’s (DA) decision to pursue a death trial and the jurors’ decision to impose a death sentence against adult defendants indicted for capital murder in Harris County (Houston), Texas from 1992 to 1999 (n=504). The results indicate that the DA was more apt to pursue death trials against black defendants than white defendants. The disparity stems from an intriguing pattern: the DA pursued death trials against black defendants and white defendants at the same rate, but controlling for confounders revealed differential treatment because black defendant cases were less “serious.” The DA was also more apt to pursue death trials on behalf of white victims and affluent victims, compared to black victims and non-affluent victims. No differences were found between Hispanics and whites. Because jurors sentenced defendants to death in an evenhanded manner, the race discrepancies that originated in the DA’s office are duplicated in the final disposition of cases. I draw on Donald Black’s (1989) concept of the desocialization of law to provide a realistic proposal for eliminating the impact of race on capital punishment.

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Similar Titles:
Complex Race Effects in Juvenile Rape Cases: Classic Black Victim Devaluation, Novel Defendant Race Effects

Race and the Death Penalty: The Determinants and Resilience of Attitudes toward Capital Punishment among Whites and African Americans

Sentencing in First Degree and Capital Murder Cases in Texas: What Decides the Outcome?

When Domestic Goes Capital: Predictors of Death Sentencing in Domestic Murder Cases Tried Capitally


 
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