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NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the NCJRS Abstracts Database. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.

 
  NCJ Number: NCJ 214729     Find in a Library
  Title: Race and the Decision to Seek the Death Penalty in Federal Cases: Executive Summary
  Document URL: PDF 
  Dataset URL: DATASET 1
  Author(s): Stephen P. Klein ; Richard A. Berk ; Laura J. Hickman
  Corporate Author: Rand Corporation
United States of America
  Date Published: 2006
  Page Count: 8
  Annotation: This study examined the relationship between the federal government’s decision to seek the death penalty in a case and that case’s characteristics, including the race of the defendants and victims.
  Abstract: This study examined the relationship between the federal government’s decision to seek the death penalty in a case and that case’s characteristics, including the race of the defendants and victims. The study’s findings support the view that decisions to seek the death penalty were driven by the heinousness of the crimes rather than by race. This research began by identifying the types of data that would be appropriate and feasible to gather. Next, case characteristics were abstracted from Department of Justice Capital Case Unit files. Defendant- and victim-race data were obtained from electronic files. Finally, three independent teams used the data to investigate whether charging decisions were related to defendant or victim race and the geographic area where case was prosecuted. Although there are large race effects in the raw data, all three teams found that controlling for nonracial case characteristics eliminated these effects. The nonracial case characteristics predicted the seek decision with 85 to 90 percent accuracy and there was no increase in accuracy when race was considered. However, the finding of no race effects is not definitive because of the difficulties in determining causation from statistical modeling of observational data.
  Main Term(s): Capital punishment ; Courts
  Index Term(s): Capital punishment ; Federal courts ; Prosecution ; Death row inmates ; Courts ; Race-punishment relationship
  Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
US Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
United States of America
  Grant Number: 2002-IJ-CX-0022
  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
  Type: Report (Summary)
  Country: United States of America
  Language: English
  Note: Final report for 2002-IJ-CX-0022 can be found at NCJ 214730.
   
  To cite this abstract, use the following link:
https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=236287

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