Thesis: Procedure for capital punishment

Sample Thesis Paper

Studies conducted in several jurisdictions have proved ethnic unfairness within the procedure for capital punishment that includes charging, selection of jury, sentencing, and leniency decisions (Moore, 304).

The Supreme Court, by a 5–4 vote in McCleskey v. Kemp (1987), declined to disturb the management of the death penalty in Georgia notwithstanding convincing research substantiation, researched by Professor David Baldus along with his co- workers, revealing significant statewide race-of-victim disparities in capital prosecutions and sentences. (Kalven, 62) Justice Powell’s majority opinion suggested that legislatures, rather than the courts, should be responsive to such disparate sentencing patterns. If researchers of a jurisdiction find out that capital-charging are biased on the grounds of ethnic background of either slaughter victims or offenders, legislative commissions should accept the Court’s invitation in McCleskey and attempt to fashion remedies. Numerous proposals have been advanced to inhibit racial considerations from influencing decision makers in potentially capital cases. (Kalven, 60) Suggestions include greater scrutiny of prosecutorial charging decisions, including the implementation and enforcement of guidelines, narrowing the range of capital murder to only the most highly aggravated killings, for which variables like race are less likely to exert an influence, and adoption of legislation that would create a rebuttable presumption that race impermissibly factored into the decision making in an individual case if evidence demonstrates system wide patterns of race-of-victim or race-of-defendant disparities in potential death penalty cases.

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