Is our system of justice colorblind? In the Unites States, many question whether the system of capital punishment is fair. One of the major issues involves race-both the race of the defendant and of the murder victim. In response to this debate on race, in 1998 the death penalty information center published a study examining the sentences following the 667 murder convictions in Philadelphia courts between 1983 and 1993. These convictions included both the race of the defendant and the race of the victim.
In the data table, when a white victim was killed and out of 121 white defendants, 14% of the white defendants were sentenced to death. The date also shows that out of the 99 black defendants, 21.2% were also sentenced to death. Looking at these two percentages, you can see that black people were more likely to receive the death sentence because their sentence was higher. But, the statistics don’t stop there. When a black victim was killed, out of 422 murderers convicted, 18% of the black defendants were sentenced to death and out of 25 white defendants about only 4% of them were sentenced to death. Because the percentages in regards to defendants were different, this means that the race of the defendant had an effect on whether a victim is prosecuted or not. In this case, once again the blacks had a higher chance of getting sentenced while the whites had a lower chance. This data tells you that the information proves that if you kill a white person, you are most likely going to receive the death penalty. Just to show you, 18% of blacks who killed black people were sentenced to death while 21% of blacks who killed white people were also sentenced to death. Like in the previous paragraphs, if a white victim is murdered and the defendant is black, they are most likely going to be sentenced to death. Given this statistical support, it is safe to say that race does play a role on death penalty. Percentages are not the same, and in the language of statistics this...
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