The Effects of Jury Racial Composition on Capital Sentencing

Dwayne Smith, University of South Florida
Beth Bjerregaard, Univ. of North Carolina at Charlotte
Sondra J. Fogel, University of South Florida

The role of race in influencing decisions regarding capital punishment is an on-going controversy. However, there is little systemic, empirical work that determines the association of jury racial composition with actual death sentencing patterns. The present study (1) addresses issues acquiring data for a study of this nature and (2) presents preliminary results from North Carolina that explores the role of jury racial composition as predictive factor in death sentencing, net of other legal and extra legal variables that may invluence such decisions.

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Updated 05/20/2006