CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Monday, December 10, 2012

Scheidegger on Race and the Death Penalty

Kent Scheidegger (Criminal Justice Legal Foundation) has posted Rebutting the Myths About Race and the Death Penalty (Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, Vol. 10, No. 1, p. 147, 2012) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

In 1984, a study on race and the death penalty went to trial in Georgia, with expert testimony on both sides. The federal district judge found that the study did not show what its principal author, David Baldus, claimed. To the extent it showed anything, it showed just the opposite, that neither race of the perpetrator nor race of the victim played a significant role in capital sentencing decisions. Yet the Baldus study is routinely cited as proof of what the author claimed rather than what the court found. The public perception of race and the death penalty has been severely distorted by misleading claims and faulty reporting. The body of evidence, when critically examined, shows that the reality of race and capital sentencing in the United States today is quite different from what is commonly believed.

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