MAJOR STUDY Finds Arbitrary Application of the Death Penalty

In a comprehensive study covering 20 years and thousands of capital cases in Ohio, the Associated Press found that the death penalty has been applied in an uneven and often arbitrary fashion.  Among the conclusions of the study that analyzed 1,936 indictments reported to the Ohio Supreme Court by counties with capital cases from October 1981 through 2002 were:

Eric Rudolph Pleads Guilty to Terrorist Bombings in Exchange for Life Without Parole Sentences

In separate plea agreements with the federal government and Georgia prosecutors, Eric Rudolph admitted killing two people and injuring 150 others by carrying out a series bombings at a gay nightclub, abortion clinics, and the 1996 Olympics, and will serve four consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole. Prosecutors spared Rudolph from execution in exchange for his guilty pleas and his revealing the location of about 250 pounds of dynamite he had hidden in the North Carolina mountains.


Inordinate and unpredictable delay has resulted in a death penalty system in which very few of the hundreds of individuals sentenced to death have been, or even will be, executed by the State. It has resulted in a system in which arbitrary factors, rather than legitimate ones like the nature of the crime or the date of the death sentence, determine whether an individual will actually be executed.

Twenty Years of Capital Punishment: A Re-evaluation

Death Penalty Information Center by Richard C. Dieter, Esq. Executive Director, Death Penalty Information Center June 1996

The Continuation of Racial Discrimination

Chattahoochee Judicial District: BUCKLE OF THE DEATH BELT: The Death Penalty in Microcosm

Death Penalty Information Center

DPIC with the support of The Southern Christian Leadership Conference

1320 Eighteenth Street, NW, 5th Floor, Washington, DC 20036
202-293-6970 / Fax: 202-822-4787 by Michael Kroll former Executive Director, Death Penalty Information Center 1991


The Death Penalty in Black and White: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Decides

by Richard C. Dieter, Esq. Executive Director, Death Penalty Information Center June 1998 It is tempting to pretend that minorities on death row share a fate in no way connected to our own, that our treatment of them sounds no echoes beyond the chambers in which they die. Such an illusion is ultimately corrosive, for the reverberations of injustice are not so easily confined. -Justice William Brennan (1987)

Reno Troubled by Death Penalty Statistics

Reno Troubled by Death Penalty Statistics NEW YORK TIMES

September 12, 2000

Reno Troubled by Death Penalty Statistics


Saying she was "sorely troubled" by stark racial disparities in the federal death penalty, Attorney General Janet Reno today ordered United States attorneys to help explain why capital punishment is not applied uniformly across ethnic groups.

"We must ensure that all defendants who come into our system are treated in a fair and just manner," Ms. Reno said in announcing the results of

Technical Errors Can Kill

Technical Errors Can Kill The National Law Journal

September 4, 2000

Technical Errors Can Kill

Special to The National Law Journal

EARLIER THIS summer, we published a study of the death penalty in this country. Our findings were disturbing and have provoked strong reactions. Two months later, it is time to look at some of those reactions, clarify misunderstandings and underline our central claim that the death penalty system is deeply flawed.