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NCJ Number: 135960 Find in a Library
Title: Capital Punishment and Structured Discretion: Arbitrariness and Discrimination After Furman (From Correctional Theory and Practice, P 178-196, 1992, Clayton A Hartjen and Edward E Rhine, eds. -- See NCJ-135949)
Author(s): A Widmayer; J Marquart
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 19
Sponsoring Agency: Nelson-Hall Publishers
Chicago, IL 60606
Sale Source: Nelson-Hall Publishers
111 North Canal Street
Chicago, IL 60606
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Data from Houston (Harris County), Texas from 1980-88 were used to determine racial differences in the probability of receiving death sentences for felony-related homicides.
Abstract: The analysis used information on the offender's age, race, and social history; the homicide type, location, and date; the victim's age, race, ethnicity, and sex; and the victim/offender relationship. The data covered 468 felony murders of which 60 resulted in a sentence of capital punishment. Results indicated that racial factors influenced the capital punishment process despite the United States Supreme Court's efforts to assure fair and nondiscriminatory imposition of it. As found in other studies, cases involving white victims were significantly more likely to culminate in a death sentence than were cases involving black or Hispanic victims. In addition, only black defendants received significantly different handling, in that they were significantly more likely to receive a death sentence if the victim was white than if the victim was black or Hispanic. Results indicated the need to reevaluate the death sentencing practices that have emerged since the Supreme Court's decision in Furman v. Georgia. 41 references
Main Term(s): Capital punishment
Index Term(s): Racial discrimination; Sentencing factors; Sentencing reform; Texas; US Supreme Court decisions
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