Bias of the Death Penalty
This paper examines the inherent bias in the death penalty and attempts to establish the root of this bias which has seen an unequal proportion of minorities and blacks executed compared to whites.
# 62940 | 1,400 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2005 |
Published on Dec 17, 2005 in African-American Studies (Racism) , Criminology (Criminal Justice and Corrections) , Criminology (Public and Crime) , Hot Topics (Capital Punishment)
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Laws are established according to the prevailing norms and customs existing in society. Thus, the law is merely a codified edict of social conformity. However, when building consensus, there is rarely, if ever, unanimous decision-making. Bias is always prevalent. Even though every citizen is equal before the law, not every citizen may be judged equally before the law. This paper illustrates this principle by using the death penalty as an example, and showing that it is racially biased and disproportionately handed down in cases involving racial minorities. It shows this through the use of statistics and by illustrating factors that lead to the discrepancy between the proportion of minorities in the population and the proportion of minorities sentenced to death in the judicial system.
From the Paper:"Since its inception, the death penalty has encountered constant opposition, and has been embroiled in court cases challenging its constitutionality. Opponents of the death penalty challenge it under the eighth amendment of the constitution, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. One of these most notable cases is that of Furman v. Georgia (1972). In this case, Justice Marshall, who wrote the majority opinion, explored the roots and different facets of the death penalty, and ultimately "arrived at the conclusion that the death penalty violates the Eighth Amendment..." (Furman v. Georgia, 1972). One key point of evidence was his contention that the death penalty is discriminative, and in presenting supporting evidence, he believed "that the following facts would serve even the most hesitant of citizens to condemn death as a sanction..." (Furman v. Georgia, 1972). He states that out of 3,859 people who have been executed since 1930, 1,751 were white, and 2,066 were black. 3,334 of the executions were for murder, of which 1,664 were white, and 1,630 were black."
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