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The Federal Death Penalty System: A Statistical Survey (1998-2000)

Released on September 12, this 356-page report reveals wide racial and geographic disparities in federal death sentences. In announcing the results of the survey, Attorney General Reno stated that she was "sorely troubled" by the racial disparities but did not believe the figures revealed any systematic bias in her department and ordered further studies. Critics of the death penalty immediately seized on the data to bolster their calls for a moratorium on all federal executions (the last of which was in 1963). The statistics are as follows: between 1995 and July 2000, US attorneys forwarded for review the cases of 682 defendants who faced capital charges (20% white, 80% minorities); the death penalty was recommended for 183 of them (26% white, 74% minority); Reno approved seeking the death penalties for 159 (28% white, 72% minorities); and 20 defendants were ultimately sentenced to death (20% white, 80% minorities). Users can download and read the report for themselves by chapter or in its entirety in Wordperfect or zipped .pdf format at the Department of Justice Website.
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Date of Scout Publication 2000-09-15
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