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NCJ Number: 155799 Find in a Library
Title: Race and the Death Penalty in Kentucky Murder Trials: 1976-1991
Journal: The Advocate  Volume:17  Issue:2  Dated:(April 1995)  Pages:5-15
Author(s): T J Keil; G F Vito
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 11
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Racial bias as a factor in capital sentencing is explored.
Abstract: This article is a paper presented at the Variations in Capital Punishment Panel, Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, Chicago, Illinois. It is based upon a report that was developed in response to Kentucky Senate Bill 8 - Bias Related Crime Reporting passed by the 1992 Kentucky General Assembly. The study re-examines the effect of the race of the victim on the probability that an accused murderer is charged with a capital crime and sentenced to death in Kentucky. It contains over five years of data in addition to data collected in a previous study conducted by the authors. Results indicate that blacks accused of killing whites had a higher than average probability of being charged with a capital crime (by the prosecutor) and sentenced to die (by a jury) than other homicide offenders. This finding remains after taking into account the effects of differences in the heinousness of the murder, prior criminal record, the personal relationship between the victim and the offender, and the probability that the accused will not stand trial for a capital offense. The article concludes that Kentucky's guided discretion system of capital sentencing has failed to eliminate race as a factor in this process. Homicide cases studied included all persons charged and indicted, convicted, and sentenced for murder or a lesser offense in Kentucky between December 22, 1976 and December 31, 1991. Methodology of the study is described. Tables, references, footnotes, cases
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Capital punishment; Courts; Juveniles; Statistics; Victims of Crime
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