“Race and the Death Penalty.” American Civil Liberties Union. 26 Feb. 2003. 31 Mar. 2006. <http://www.aclu.org/capital/unequal/10389pub20030226.html>
This article reviews information regarding racial prejudice in today’s court system. Racism is not a thing of the past and of small towns in the South; in fact, Pennsylvania and Colorado are the states with the highest proportion of minorities on death row. The article indicates that the color of the defendant directly relates to the likelihood that the prosecution will seek capital punishment. Also, the race of the victim is quite important. If the victim is white, then the death penalty has a much greater chance of being used, while if the victim is black, the chances are far lower. Again, the race of the defendant is also important, with white defendants receiving generally easier punishments than black defendants.
Statistics are provided on various specific states, including Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas. All these states exemplify the statistics indicating that blacks are at a disadvantage compared to whites.
The article also discusses the role of the lawyers in the discrimination process. In the case of a black defendant, the prosecution will always strike as many black jurors as possible in order to make the jury more likely to vote on behalf of the victim.
Attorney General John Ashcroft has overturned numerous cases in order to seek the death penalty, and under an overwhelming majority of these cases, the suspect was black. He has ordered studies to be conducted, and has not found any racial prejudice to exist in the current system. The statistics appear to indicate otherwise; racial prejudice was not only a problem in Macomb, Alabama, but certainly still exists to the disadvantage of African-Americans across the nation today.