Racial and Geographic Disparities in California’s Death Penalty

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The Radelet-Pierce is the first state-wide study of the role of race, ethnicity and geography in death sentencing in California. The authors reviewed all homicides that occurred in California from 1990-99, using records from the FBI and Vital Statistics. During this period, 302 death sentences were returned (close to half the number of people currently on death row in California). The study finds that race and ethnicity of victim, place, and community diversity are key factors in determining who is sentenced to die in this state.

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