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Naisha Tobias

Knight

AP Statistics

September 7, 2016

Investigative Task- Chapter 3

In 1976, the death penalty had been reinstated into the nations constitution and since the

controversial decision, there has been over 500 convicted murders that had been sentenced to

death. The death penalty has always been a contentious debate and many individuals question

whether or not our justice system is color blind or have biased feelings on ones skin tone when it

comes to sentencing them the death penalty. In 1998 the Death Penalty Information Center

released an article title The Death Penalty in Black and White, a report on a study analyzing the

sentences succeeding 667 murder convictions in the years 1983 to 1993 in Philadelphia. The

results illustrate the association between the race of the victim, the race of the defendant, and if

the defendant received the death penalty. The data collected is shown in the table below.
As shown above, white defendants were sentenced to death 12.3% (18 of 146) when the

crime involved both white and black victims. While on the contrary 18.6% (97 of 521) of black

defendants were sentenced to the death penalty when the crime involved both white and black

victims. While there is a difference of over 6% between the two, as we compare the sentencing

percentages individually (taking the defendants race into close consideration), the ratio between

the black and white defendants becomes more startling.

As seen above on the table when the crime included a white victim, white defendants

were sentenced to the death penalty 14% (17 of 121) of the cases, unlike with black defendants

who were sentenced to the penalty 21% (21 of 99) of the cases. The largest percentage gap

includes black victims, for example when black defendants were convicted for killing black

victims 18% (76 of 422) of the defendants were sentenced to the death penalty. Unlike with

white defendants who were convicted, only 4% (1 of 25) were sentenced to the death penalty.

In conclusion, the data demonstrates that the race of the convicted, and the death penalty

are completely dependent on each other. The correlation between the two is illustrated in the

table above. The death penalty percentages for killing white victims- 21% for black offenders,

14% for white offenders- are slightly greater than they are for killing black victims- 18% for

black offenders, 4% for white offenders. One can gather from this information that the justice

system is colorblind when it comes to the administration of the death penalty in the years of

1983-1993.