The Effect of Race, Gender, and Location on Prosecutioral Decisions to Seek the Death Penalty in South Carolina

By Isaac Unah / Michael J. Songer / South Carolina Law Review, on 1 January 2006

This Article analyzes the factors that influence the decisions of South Carolina prosecutors to seek the death penalty. Professor Unah and Mr. Songer employ statistical methods to examine the legal and nonlegal factors that shape this decision-making process. Controlling for political factors, this Article finds that the race of the victim, gender, and rural crime locations are significant considerations in the decision to seek the death penalty. Further, Professor Unah and Mr. Songer argue that these nonlegal factors undermine the legal guidelines that are intended to channel and steer the decision-making process. This Article highlights the arbitrary nature of the decisions that result from these considerations, and it concludes by challenging the legitimacy of a process influenced by these factors.

  • Document type Article
  • Countries list United States
  • Themes list Networks,