I T IS WIDELY BELIEVED THAT TEXAS is the execution capitol of the U. S. A. ------

and that blacks are over-represented on America’s death rows.

The reality in both cases is much more complicated. `

Death penalty states

According to a study published in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, although Texas’s death row is the largest in the nation, the overall percentage of murderers sentenced to death is actually lower in the “Lone Star State “ than in fifteen (yes - -15) others for every thousand murders.

Texas sentences twenty people to death, compared with fifty-one in neighboring Oklahoma, and an average of twenty-five among the thirty-one- death-penalty states included in the study of Texas’s reputation as death-sentence-happy rests primarily on its high murder rate and on its willingness to carry out the sentence it has imposed.

California, for instance, sentences nearly as many people to death as Texas, but as of this writing has executed only ten (10) of them since 1977, whereas Texas has executed 319.)

As for the supposed over-representation of blacks among those sentenced to death, blacks make up 41 per cent of death-row inmates and commit about 50 % of all murders nationally (in both death-penalty and non-death-penalty states.)

The study’s authors are quick to note, however, that judges and juries are least likely to impose the death-penalty in black-on-black murders (which make up the majority of murder cases involving blacks) , more likely to do so in white-on-white cases, and most likely when the perpetrator is black and the victim white.

                                                              By: John Blime, Theodore Eisenberg

                                                                     , and Martin T. Wells

                                                      Journal of Empirical Legal Studies.

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