The Futile Quest for Racial Neutrality in Capital Selection and the Eighth Amendment Argument for Abolition Based on Unconscious Racial Discrimination
84 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2006
This article begins by discussing the characteristics of current capital-sentencing systems that make racial discrimination in capital selection uncontrollable. It also summarizes the social-science evidence that white-victim bias widely plagues capital selection. The article then develops the two central arguments suggested by its title. First, it provides a detailed explanation of why proposals for federal regulatory reform cannot succeed in achieving racial neutrality in capital selection. Second, it provides a theory to explain why unconscious racial discrimination in capital selection violates the Eighth Amendment and, given the futility of federal regulatory remedies, justifies abolition.
Keywords: Capital punishment, capital sentencing, death penalty
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