American Indians and the Death Penalty: A Case Study of Three Death Row Inmates in Arizona

Robert Carl Schehr, Northern Arizona University

This paper describes base-line data pertaining to due process and investigative matters arising in the conviction of three American Indian death row inmates in the state of Arizona. There are presently 41 American Indians on death row in the United States. This case study serves as a precursor to a larger and more extensive research project that will content analyze all 41 death row cases. My primary objective is creation of a composite picture of the conviction and sentencing of American Indians. This work is part of a national effort to produce post-mortum case review to identify and correct problems associated with due process. Among the issues discussed are: indigent defense, the role of eyewitnesses, police and prosecutorial behavior, the role of prison informants in convictions, and post-conviction review. This paper concludes with a statement relating to the relevance of Indian sovereignty rights with respect to capital punishment.

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Updated 05/20/2006