The Occurance Of Racial Disparity In The Death Penalty

1417 words - 6 pages

The Occurrence of Racial Disparity in the Death PenaltyJody RichardsUniversity of PhoenixCultural Diversity in Criminal JusticeCJA 423Reginald GrigsbyJune 17, 2010AbstractEven though some argue that there is no disparity in Death Penalty sentencing, statistics and evidence show that Racial Disparity not only occurs in the sentencing but also in every other level of the criminal justice system (Williams, 2010). From the time of initial contact with law enforcement up until sentencing some citizens will fall victim to disparity and discrimination. It has been shown many times over that both Blacks and Hispanics are treated disproportionately as compared to their White counterparts.The Occurrence of Racial Disparity in the Death PenaltyUnfortunately, disparity is rampant not only in society but also in the criminal justice system. The percentage of African Americans who account for all arrests is far greater than the percentage that they represent in the population as compared to Caucasians. Equal rights and fairness for all as guaranteed by the Eighth and Fourteenth amendments are not what is being practiced in our legal system. The majority of disparity in the criminal justice system can be contributed to the bigotry of those who represent our system, such as police officers, prosecutors, attorneys, judges and those in the probation and parole departments. There is a real concern for racial disparity that is occurring in the application of death penalty sentencing. Attempts have been made to establish appeals based on racial disparity. Statistically it has been shown that the death penalty has been disproportionately applied in the United States. Several studies indicate that the races of the defendant and the victim have an impact on whether or not the death penalty is sought. There are other issues besides racial disparity that surround the death penalty.The intent of the death penalty is said to be to punish those who offend as well as providing justice for society. The death penalty has been a controversial issue for many since its inception in the United States in the 1600's. It was abolished in some states and its application changed in others. There is the contention that the use of the death penalty inflicts cruel and unusual punishment upon its sufferers. Concerns of possibly putting an innocent person to death have also put the death penalty under scrutiny. With advancements in technology, DNA evidence has exonerated many of the innocent who sat on death row.The issue at hand is racial bias that occurs in seeking the death penalty. Statistics have confirmed that Blacks are more apt than Whites to be stopped, searched, arrested, and killed by police (MacNamara & Burns, 2009). African Americans account for 12.7% of the population in the United States; however in 2002 they accounted...

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