How the race of the accused impacts not only the likelihood of his or her arrest, but the chance of conviction and the severity of punishment is a critical and vital component to any defense of a death penalty case, as exemplified in the current pre-trial motions being filed in the Markeith Loyd matter by Terence Lenamon we have shared in previous posts.

New DPIC Report on Racial Discrimination in Death Penalty Cases

This month, the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) published a new report entitled, “Enduring Injustice: the Persistence of Racial Discrimination in the U.S. Death Penalty.”  (Click on the image of its cover to read the report online in its entirety.)

It’s a recommended read.

From the DPIC press release the author of the new report, DPIC’s Senior Director of Research and Special Projects Ngozi Ndulue, explains:

“We have seen more explicit reference to the continued racial discrimination in the death penalty in the last few months.  This is a moment that advocates are really looking for concrete changes and what we’re trying to do with this report — the bulk of it was written before the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd — ties really into the moment of reckoning of racial justice the country is having right now.”

Also note the following data from the new DPIC publication (emphasis added):

  • A 2015 meta-analysis of 30 studies showing that the killers of white people were more likely than the killers of Black people to face a capital prosecution.
  • A study in North Carolina showing that qualified Black jurors were struck from juries at more than twice the rate of qualified white jurors. As of 2010, 20 percent of those on the state’s death row were sentenced to death by all-white juries.
  • Data showing that since executions resumed in 1977, 295 African-American defendants have been executed for interracial murders of white victims, while only 21 white defendants have been executed for interracial murders of African Americans.
  • A 2014 mock jury study of more than 500 Californians that found white jurors were more likely to sentence poor Latinx defendants to death than poor white defendants.
  • Data showing that exonerations of African Americans for murder convictions are 22 percent more likely to be linked to police misconduct.