In the latest edition of the journal Deviant Behavior, sociologist Robert Young of the University of Texas has reported that death penalty supporters, such as those who are qualified to sit on juries in capital cases, were about a third more likely to have prejudiced views of blacks. Young’s evaluation of polling data also revealed that death penalty supporters are more likely to convict the defendant. When polled, they were nearly twice as likely to say it was worse to let the guilty go free than to convict an innocent defendant. “By allowing juries in capital cases to be stacked in favor of conviction, the courts have created a system in which certain defendants – especially those of African American descent – in essence must prove their innocence beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Young, who analyzed data from the 1990 to 1996 General Social Survey – a leading barometer of social trends in the U.S. He notes that those two findings reinforce each other and make death penalty juries more conviction prone, particularly when the defendant is black. (Washington Post, March 21, 2004) See Race.