The death penalty’s disproportionate use against Black Americans reflects the legacy of lynchings and other brutal punishments used by law enforcement and the justice system as tools to control people of color, argues the Death Penalty Information Center in a new report.
“No one who claims to stand for pro-life values can credibly” support capital punishment, writes Wyoming Republican state Rep. Jared Olsen, who predicts his bill ending the practice will be passed by the GOP-controlled legislature in his state next year.
The Death Penalty Information Center says cases involving white victims are more likely to be investigated and capitally charged; jurors of color may be excluded from service in death-penalty trials, and death sentences are disproportionately imposed on defendants of color.
Under a 1994 law, the federal government can seek the death penalty for murders on Indian reservations committed by tribal members only if the tribe agrees. The Navajo Nation opposed capital punishment in this case, but prosecutors invoked a different law not requiring tribal approval.
Nearly 16 years after Peterson was sentenced to death for killing his wife and son, the California Supreme Court said the jury that decided on the sentence was not selected properly. Peterson’s conviction stands.
A Republican Wyoming state representative who describes himself as “fiscally conservative, socially conservative, and liberty-minded” argues that capital punishment wastes taxpayers’ money at a time when his constituents are already hard-pressed to meet their most basic needs.