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Racial Disparity In The Application Of The Death Penalty

1505 words - 7 pages

Racial Disparity in the Application of the Death PenaltyIn today's world, there are many positions for and against the application of the death penalty as a form of punishment. In order to understand the methodology behind the use of the death penalty, the history of the death penalty must be understood. This paper will be discussing the factual history and current facts of whether the death penalty is applied based on race.In history, as far back as the B.C. (Before Christ) era, the death sentence to severe crimes were carried out by such means as crucifixion, drowning, beating to death, burning alive, and impalement. America was introduced to the death penalty by Great Britain, who at that ...view middle of the document...

Ohio and McGautha v. California (consolidated under 402 U.S. 183), it was argued by the defendants that their Fourteenth amendments were desecrated due to jurors having unlimited restriction when deciding whether a defendant is suppose to live or die. It was also argued by Crampton that having his guilt and sentence decided in one deliberation was unconstitutional. The Court then rejected free jury discretion, and sole proceeding to decide guilt and sentence. Guiding capital punishment is beyond present human ability, as stated by the Court. These court cases were cases brought about in the late 1960's and early 1970's to help modify the means the death penalty was administered.Then in 1972 the Supreme Court brought about Furman v. Georgia, Jackson v. Georgia, and Branch v. Texas (known as the landmark case Furman v. Georgia (408 U.S. 238). The confusion of what "cruel and unusual" punishment would be understood as, violated the Eighth amendment because although the Supreme Court held a "cruel and unusual" punishment standard is "if it was too severe for the crime, if it was arbitrary, if it offended society's sense of justice, or if it was not more effective than a less severe penalty," the court held that the jury given total sentencing discretion, might result in arbitrary sentencing. Due to the Furman v. Georgia case the Supreme Court voided 40 death sentencing statutes, questioned the 629 death row inmates in the United States, and postponed the death penalty because to many existing statutes were invalid. Because of the separate opinions and views the Court unlocked the door, allowing the states to propose fresh statutes to eliminate past problems, to end arbitrariness in capital punishments. Although due to the "Gregg v. Georgia (428 U.S. 153), Jurek v. Texas (428 U.S. 262), and Proffitt v. Florida (428 U.S. 242)" also known as the Gregg decision, Florida, Georgia, and Texas held that the new death sentencing statutes were constitutional, and so restoring the death sentence in those states with the new statutes. The death sentence was also found to be constitutional under the Eighth Amendment.Nonetheless, the death penalty continues to haunt America's criminal justice system, even after establishing factors to consider the death penalty as a form of punishment, many argue that the death penalty is not being applied equally to minorities. Minority people from African and Hispanic backgrounds continue to be the individuals being affected by the application of the death penalty, thus portraying the death penalty as discriminatory. Africans are more likely to stand facing the death penalty as a form of punishment than whites in the execution of similar crimes.Statistics show that for many years the death penalty has fallen disproportionately on racial minorities. Since the early 1930's, nearly 90% of those executed for the crime of violent assaults (rape) were African Americans, and at this present time about 50% of those standing in death...

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