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Specifically, his and his colleagues' study found that only 15 out of 246 murder cases (6%) where the victim was black resulted in a death sentence, as compared with 85 out of 348 (24%) of such cases when the victim was white.This study led to Warren Mc Cleskey's death sentence being challenged due to allegations that it was racially biased.
In 1983, David Baldus co-authored a study that found that capital punishment in Georgia since the decision in Furman v.
Georgia was handed down 1972 had been applied unevenly across race.
A controversy within criminology involves the extent to which race affects criminal processing.
Investigators on different sides of the issue have relied predominantly on studies of sentencing, leaving largely unexplored the less visible area of presentencing.
The review also found that cases with black victims were less likely than those with white victims to result in the death sentence, possibly as a result of the devaluing of black crime victims.
The same study found that after controlling for the race of the victim, there was no clear evidence that the race of the defendant predicted how likely they were to receive a death sentence.
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A 2014 study by Alberto Alesina and Eliana La Ferrara found evidence of racial bias in capital sentencing in that error rates tended to be higher in capital cases involving minority defendants and white victims.
However, this pattern was only seen in Southern states.