My comments entered as "Sharp:".
1) Blume, John H.; Eisenberg, Theodore; and Wells, Martin T., "Explaining Death Row's Population and Racial Composition" (2004), Cornell Law Faculty Publicationshttp://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/facpub/231
" . . . based on the number of murders, African Americans are sentenced to death at lower rates than whites."
"How can African-American underrepresentation on death row be reconciled with the well-documented racial effects in capital cases? One racial effect, disproportionate presence of minorities on death row, is an artifact of using the general population, rather than the murderer population, as the basis for comparison. If the focus is on the operation of the capital punishment system, the population of murderers is an arguably more appropriate starting point."
Sharp: It is the only starting point. Any claim of racism based upon a correlation of racial/ethnic population counts to death row population is a common and intended deception by death penalty opponents.
"The white defendant-black victim category is too small a portion of murders to materially influence the size of death row."
"If, however, black defendant-white victim murders increase black representation on death row, and the bottom line is underrepresentation of blacks on death row, some race of defendant-race of victim combination must decrease it. The strongest candidate is the black defendant-black victim combination due to the evidence of prosecutorial reluctance to seek death in "black on black" cases."
Sharp: Blume, et al, simply missed the data, here. Any death row population "imbalance" is based upon the fact that black on black murders are much less likely to be a capital murder than are black on white murders. That is the explanation.
"Texas sentences murderers to death at a rate below the national mean."
"After accounting for some of the many factors that may influence penalty decisions, neither race of the defendant nor race of the victim appreciably improved prediction of who was sentenced to death . . . ".
3) "The Death Penalty and Racism The Times Have Changed", Washington Post reporter Charles Lane, The American Interest, Nov/Dec 2010,
5) RACE, SENTENCING & THE DEATH PENALTY
"The most vile strategy of death penalty opponents is their use of propaganda to nurture hatreds and mistrust between race and class."
"Bryan Stevenson, a well known opposition spokesman and attorney with Equal Justice Initiative, claims that the death penalty reflects the middle class’ desire to strike out at the poor and racial minorities. Sister Helen Prejean (Dead Man Walking) joins this hideous chorus, proclaiming that "(m)iddle-class and upper middle-class white people...are so much for the death penalty (to) ‘Keep those dangerous people (the poor and minorities) in their place.’ "
Sharp: Simply foul claims with nothing to back them up. Folks support the death penalty for the same reasons they support all sanctions - justice, a sanction commensurate with the harm of the crime. Gallup polling showed 81% support for the execution of mass murderer Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber. Support was consistent through all racial and economic groups.
Furthermore, the database, which, allegedly supported McCleskey's charge of racism, did no such thing and was, completely, unreliable.
Based upon experience, most, if not all law schools, wrongly confirm the Baldus database.
I am unaware of Baldus making any efforts to correct these many misconceptions, over the many years that he should have.
Sharp: As the most common capital murders, those which are death penalty eligible, are rape/murders and robbery/murders, the disparities will most likely be even greater than the numbers, above.
(1) Rebutting the Myths About Race and the Death Penalty, Kent Scheidegger, 10 Ohio St. J. Crim. L. 147 (2012).