Cover image for Death & discrimination : racial disparities in capital sentencing
Death & discrimination : racial disparities in capital sentencing
Gross, Samuel R.
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Publication Information:
Boston : Northeastern University Press, [1989]

Physical Description:
xvi, 268 pages ; 22 cm
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HV8699.U5 G76 1989 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

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Choice Review

Gross and Mauro are two scholars who have contributed to recent cases litigating the constitutional implications of discrimination in capital punishment. In this cogently written book, the authors trace legal and empirical studies on the issue, including the 1987 Supreme Court decision in McCleskey v. Kemp, and assess studies of judicial inequity and discrimination in capital cases. The core of the work is the empirical study of capital sentencing patterns in eight states--all except Illinois are southern. The sources of data and methods of analysis are carefully described for the crucial period 1976-1980. Data related to Florida and Georgia indicate disparities by race of victims, and failure of state supreme courts to solve the problem of racial discrimination in either state. The data from the other five southern states are comparable. Gross and Mauro also address causes and consequences of racial discrimination in capital sentencing, e.g., psychological explanations, the legal context prior to McCleskey and the implications of that case, which are grim--the Supreme Court has acknowledged that race plays a major role in such sentences, yet refuses future appeals based on it. The book bridges the gap between research in legal studies and social science, and has an excellent review of the literature, with extensive cases and notes. Highly recommended for four-year college and university libraries. -P. M. Wickman, SUNY College at Potsdam