Race and the Use of the Death Penalty in Ohio

Marian R. Williams, Bowling Green State University

Race and the imposition of the death penalty has been the topic of an extensive line of research which attempts to understand the relationship between the two. The current project is a replication of Michael Radelet's research found in "Choosing Those Who Will Die: Race and the Death Penalty in Florida," published in the Florida Law Review. The current study, however, analyzes death sentences in the state of Ohio, which, apart from the recent execution of "The Volunteer" Wilford Berry, has not carried out a death sentence since the 1960s, despite having almost 200 inmates currently on death row. The effect of race on the imposition of death sentences in Ohio is analyzed with other variables, including age and gender of the defendant and victim, number of conviction charges, stranger/non-stranger offense, and gun-nongun offense. These variables are also used to compare those homicides which resulted in a death sentence with those which did not.

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Updated 05/20/2006