By Frank R. Baumgartner, Special to The Sun
This month, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Florida’s death penalty statute because judges rather than jurors were making the ultimate decision about who should be sentenced to die. This narrow ruling highlights a serious problem with Florida’s capital punishment scheme, but new research suggests that this is just one of many flaws in how the state determines who should be executed.
I recently conducted a study that looked at the race of victims in all homicides in Florida since 1976, including those that resulted in execution. I found that executions are very rare: just 0.30 percent of homicides lead to an execution. But there are tremendous disparities depending on the characteristics of the victim: homicides involving white female victims are 6.5 times more likely to result in an execution than those involving black male victims...
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