Race and The Death Penalty

A high-court move to halt repeated appeals stirs concern about an arbitrary process

"The death penalty symbolizes whom we fear and don't fear, whom we care about and whose lives are not valid," says Bryan Stevenson, the director of Alabama's Capital Representation Resource Center. Fair enough. Just whom do Americans fear -- and whom do they care about? The answers to these questions of life and death lie in a set of dry but startling statistics:

-- Of the 144 executions since the 1976 reinstatement of the death penalty in the U.S., not one white person has been executed for the killing of a black.

-- In those 144 killings, 86% of the victims...

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