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NCJ Number: 154229 Find in a Library
Title: Capital Punishment in Missouri: Examining the Issue of Racial Disparity
Journal: Behavioral Sciences and the Law  Volume:13  Issue:1  Dated:(Winter 1995)  Pages:61-80
Author(s): J R Sorensen; D H Wallace
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 20
Document: PDF
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Using data from Supplementary Homicide Reports and Trial Judge Reports, studies the issue of racial disparity in capital punishment sentences given between 1977 and 1991.
Abstract: Multiple variate analyses correspond to three key decision points analyzed: charging and conviction, penalty trial, and sentencing. The findings suggest a racial bias against offenders who kill whites, particularly if the offender is black. A reverse relationship was found when the homicide victim was black. The strongest effects noted were in the prosecutor's decision to charge homicide offenders with capital murder and to proceed to penalty trial in convicted capital murder cases. The effects of race were strongest when prosecutors and jurors could consider factors other than the seriousness of the offense. Racial disparities that occur early in the criminal justice process are not rectified during sentencing, but instead seem to be magnified at that stage. 7 tables, 6 notes, and 49 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Capital punishment; Courts; Missouri; Racial discrimination; Sentencing disparity
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