ACLU Says Moratorium Needed to Address Bias in Federal Death Penalty Sentencing
|January 9, 2007||Posted by Staff under Archive, Progress Report, The Progress Report|
U.S. Government Killings
Moratorium Needed to Address Bias in Federal Death Penalty Sentencing
The U.S. Department of so-called “Justice” has admitted serious bias in the process of government killings of citizens. Here is a new announcement on this topic from the American Civil Liberties Union.
WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice’s findings from its review of the federal death penalty confirms what the American Civil Liberties Union and other death penalty opponents have long known: that there is serious bias in the application of the death penalty at the federal level.
It is clear from the Justice Department report that people of color are disproportionately caught up in the web of the federal death penalty. The report raises as many questions as it answers and, as Attorney General Reno has suggested, requires further study and analysis.
But the bottom-line is this: if the Attorney General herself is troubled by the findings in this report and has no explanation for these persistent disparities, that is reason enough to suspend efforts to seek and impose death sentences by federal prosecutors until we are sure that race and ethnicity are not tainting decisions in these cases at a very fundamental level.
As the report documents, between 1988 and 2000 most of those facing federal capital prosecutions have been either African American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American or of Pacific Island origin. Of the 19 people currently sentenced to death under federal law 15 are people of color, 13 are African American.
While the federal government does not yet rival the states in terms of the sheer numbers of death sentences sought and obtained, it far exceeds the states in the degree to which people of color are subjected to the death penalty.
It used to be that the federal government was the standard-bearer for assuring equality under the law. The Justice Department study sets a new low in an area of criminal justice where, for many, there are no second chances.
For more information, contact the ACLU at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit their WWW site at www.aclu.org
When the government kills its own citizens, should it single out certain racial groups more than others? Hint — that’s what fascist governments do. Should the USA? Tell your views to The Progress Report!