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View Diary: Why The Death Penalty Should Matter to Progressives (298 comments)

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  •  Grizzard, did you read your own links? (0+ / 0-)

    You wrote:

    "People who kill white victims are roughly four times more likely to be sentenced to death than a a person who kills a black victim."

    No. Your linked article says:

    "the data showed that the odds of receiving a death sentence in cases where the victim was white were 2.96 times as high as the odds in cases with black victims."

    You were wrong on two important and obvious points.

    2.96 would be, roughly, 3 times, not 4.

    Even worse, you said "four times more likely"

    It is not by a times more likely, but by odds of 2.96  times more likely.

    You reflect the same misunderstanding as taught by, virtually, all law schools, with regard to the McCleskey v Georgia case, even though some know better.

    Odds multipliers are totally different than "times". An odds multiplier of 2.96 in North Carolina could mean, virtually, no discernible difference or a difference so small that it is random chance, alone, with no implication of any racial bias.

    Please review:

    McCleskey v Kemp, the infamous race based death penalty case decided by the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS)

    The US Supreme Court misunderstood the math involved. They ignorantly wrote: "defendants charged with killing white victims were 4.3 times as likely to receive a death sentence as defendants charged with killing blacks."

    Totally inaccurate. It was by odds of 4.3 times, or an odds multiplier of 4.3, which can mean variables as low as 2-4%, as opposed to the 330% difference represented by 4.3 times. SCOTUS blew it big time on this.

    These two articles, below, give a good explanation of a core problem with David Baldus, in the McCleskey case and another of his reviews. I am unaware of Baldus making any efforts to correct these misconceptions, over the many years that he should have.

    A) "The Math Behind Race, Crime and Sentencing Statistics"
    By John Allen Paulos, Los Angeles Times, July 12, 1998

    B) See “The Odds of Execution” within “How numbers are tricking you”, by Arnold Barnett, MIT Technology Review October, 1994

    Baldus' database and work in McCleskey was quite poor.

    Read Federal District Court Judge Forrester's rejection of Baldus' database for McCleskey.

    A more thorough review is provided by Joseph Katz, who did the methodological review of the Baldus database, which was rife with errors and problems. I have it, if you care to research.

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