Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1207882
 
 

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The Death Penalty in Delaware: An Empirical Study


John H. Blume


Cornell Law School

Theodore Eisenberg


Cornell University - Law School

Sheri Lynn Johnson


Cornell Law School

Valerie P. Hans


Cornell University - School of Law

August 6, 2008

Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-025
3rd Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Papers

Abstract:     
This article reports the findings of the first phase of a three phase empirical study of the death penalty in Delaware. In phase 1, we examined only cases in which the defendant was sentenced to death. While our findings are preliminary, there appear to be, as numerous other studies have found in other jurisdictions, race of victim effects. Seventy percent of the death sentences were imposed in white victim cases, even though the majority of the murder victims are black. Additionally, Delaware has one of the highest death sentencing rates in the country. This high rate appears to be the result of a change in the Delaware death sentencing scheme from jury to judge sentencing. When that change was implemented, the number of death sentences rose dramatically. Our preliminary findings also reveal a geographic effect. Two thirds of the death sentences were imposed in New Castle County, 29% were imposed in Kent County and only 5% of the death sentences resulted from murders which occurred in Sussex County. Finally, in analyzing the outcomes of the cases in which the defendant was sentenced to death on appeal, we found an overall error rate of 44%.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 22

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Date posted: August 7, 2008  

Suggested Citation

Blume, John H. and Eisenberg, Theodore and Johnson, Sheri Lynn and Hans, Valerie P., The Death Penalty in Delaware: An Empirical Study (August 6, 2008). Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-025; 3rd Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Papers. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1207882 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1207882

Contact Information

John H. Blume (Contact Author)
Cornell Law School ( email )
524 College Ave
Myron Taylor Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
Theodore Eisenberg
Cornell University - Law School ( email )
524 College Ave
Myron Taylor Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607-255-6477 (Phone)
607-255-7193 (Fax)
Sheri Lynn Johnson
Cornell Law School ( email )
524 College Ave
Myron Taylor Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607-255-6478 (Phone)
607-255-7193 (Fax)
Valerie P. Hans
Cornell University - School of Law ( email )
524 College Ave
Myron Taylor Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607-255-0095 (Phone)
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