THE RACIAL GEOGRAPHY OF THE FEDERAL DEATH PENALTY
Scholars have devoted substantial attention to both the overrepresentation of black defendants on federal death row and the disproportionate number of federal defendants charged capitally for the murder of white victims. This attention has not explained (much less resolved) these disquieting racial disparities. Little research has addressed the unusual geography of the federal death penalty, in which a small number of jurisdictions are responsible for the vast majority of federal death sentences. By addressing the unique geography, we identify a possible explanation for the racial distortions in the federal death penalty: that federal death sentences are sought disproportionately where the expansion of the venire from the county to the district level has a dramatic demographic impact on the racial make-up of the jury. This inquiry demonstrates that the conversation concerning who should make up the jury of twelve neighbors and peers—a discussion begun well before the founding of our Constitution—continues to have relevance today. Louisiana, Missouri, Virginia and Maryland referred to.
- Document type Article
- Countries list United States
- Themes list Networks,