ARTICLE: RACE, GENDER, REGION AND DEATH SENTENCING IN COLORADO, 1980-1999 Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2006 University of Colorado Law Review, Inc.
University of Colorado Law Review

ARTICLE: RACE, GENDER, REGION AND DEATH SENTENCING IN COLORADO, 1980-1999

Summer, 2006

77 U. Colo. L. Rev. 549

Author

Stephanie Hindson* and Hillary Potter** and Michael L. Radelet***

Excerpt

Introduction
 
The United States is unique among western democracies in its retention of the death penalty. According to Amnesty International, the best source for international execution data, by early 2006 capital punishment had been abolished in law or practice in 123 nations, while another 73 countries continued to authorize the use of the death penalty. 1 Some 92 percent of the 2,148 known executions that were carried out around the globe in calendar year 2005 took place in just four countries: China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United States. 2

Between 1930 and 1967, there were 3,859 executions in the United States, 54 percent of which took the lives of African American prisoners. 3 The racial disparity was particularly apparent among those executed for rape: 405 of the 455 men executed for rape between 1930 and 1967 were black (89 percent). 4 In part because of concerns about racial bias, during the late 1960s several petitioners began to challenge the constitutionality of the death penalty. 5 In 1972, these challenges found success when the Supreme Court, in Furman v. Georgia, 6 in effect invalidated all existing death penalty statutes in the United States. As a result of Furman, 631 men and 2 women on death rows in 32 states had their death sentences reduced to prison terms. 7 At the time, many agreed with Jack Greenberg, one of the attorneys from the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund who worked on the Furman case, "There will ...
 
 
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