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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 185401 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Survey of the Federal Death Penalty System (1988-2000)
Corporate Author: US Dept of Justice
United States of America
Date Published: September 12, 2000
Page Count: 411
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
US Dept of Justice
Washington, DC 20531
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: HTML|PDF
Type: Statistics
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This statistical survey provides information on the Federal death penalty system since the enactment of the first modern capital punishment statute in 1988.
Abstract: The survey explains the U.S. Department of Justice's internal decision making process for determining whether to seek the death penalty in individual cases and presents statistical information that focuses on the racial/ethnic and geographic distribution of defendants and their victims at particular stages of that decision making process. With the enactment of the Drug Kingpin Act (DKA), which made the death penalty available as a possible punishment for certain drug-related offenses, the Justice Department has modified its internal decision making processes in capital cases. In 1988 the Justice Department instituted a policy that required U.S. attorneys in the 94 Federal districts to submit to the U.S. Attorney General for review and approval any case in which the U.S. attorney wished to seek the death penalty. Under this policy, the decision not to seek the death penalty was left to the U.S. attorney's discretion. From 1988 until the end of 1994, U.S. attorneys sought approval from Attorneys General to seek the death penalty 52 times and received it 47 times. On January 27, 1995, the Justice Department adopted the policy still in effect today, commonly known as the death penalty "protocol," under which U.S. attorneys are required to submit for review all cases in which a defendant is charged with a capital-eligible offense, regardless of whether the U.S. attorney desires to seek the death penalty in that case. This survey presents a series of statistics regarding the Federal death penalty process, broken down by time period (pre-protocol and post-protocol), by participants in the decision making process (the U.S. attorneys, the Review Committee, and the Attorney General), and by the racial/ethnic groups of defendants and victims. The concluding section presents highlights of data regarding the degree of consensus among U.S. attorneys, the Review Committee, and the Attorney General.
Main Term(s): Sentencing statistics
Index Term(s): Capital punishment; Federal courts; Prosecutorial discretion; Prosecutorial screening; Prosecutors; Racial discrimination; Sentencing disparity; Sentencing factors
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