Numbering Their Days

Would quotas for death sentences ease the bias against black prisoners?

What course of appeal does a prisoner have if he believes he has been handed a death sentence largely because he is black? At the moment, none. The Racial Justice Act, or some form of it, might open up an avenue -- but only if it remains part of the omnibus crime bill now before Congress. The act would allow minority inmates on death row in federal and state prisons to use statistics to show that their sentence was part of a pattern of discrimination. For example, if the number of blacks sentenced to die or for whom prosecutors sought the...

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