The Death Penalty by Peggy Parks

By Peggy Parks

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Race and Capital Punishment in North Carolina 79% 80% 70% 55% 60% 53% 50% 40% 30% 22% 30% 20% 10% 0% Percentage of state population that is African American Percentage of murder arrests that involved African Americans Percentage of death row that is African American Percentage of defendants executed who were African American (1984–2006) Percentage of defendants executed whose murder victims were white (1984–2006) Source: Matthew Robinson, The Death Penalty in North Carolina: A Summary of the Data and Scientific Studies, March 1, 2011.

Facts and Illustrations • A 2011 study by researchers from Appalachian State University found that from 1984 to 2006 in North Carolina, six black criminals who had killed white victims were executed, versus one white criminal who had killed a black victim. • Ohio Northern University law professor Victor Streib states that males who commit homicide are nearly seven times as likely to be sentenced to death as females who commit the same crime. • In a June 2010 poll of people in Utah, 66 percent of respondents said they believed the death penalty is applied fairly in the United States, while 24 percent said it is applied unfairly.

Mental Health America estimates that 5 to 10 percent of all death row inmates suffer from serious mental illness. Should the Mentally Impaired Be Exempt from the Death Penalty? Americans Support Tough Punishment for Mentally Ill Murderers The polling agency Rasmussen Reports conducted a national survey of 1,000 adults who were asked to share their thoughts about the death penalty for murderers who are mentally ill. As this chart shows, only 28 percent thought that the criminals should be punished less severely because of their illness.

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