A new study evaluated death sentences over 28 years in North Carolina and found major distinctions depending on the race of the victim. In particular, the study found that a defendant was three times as likely to get the death sentence if the victim was white compared to when the victim was black.
According to one of the researchers behind the study, "It’s just kind of baffling that in this day and age — race matters . . ." As a part of the study, the researchers attempted to control for other factors that may have accounted for the vast disparity. For the most part, however, they were unable to uncover another variable accounting for the differential.
North Carolina recently became the second state in the country to pass legislation allowing defendants charged with murder and/or on death row to present statistical evidence of racial bias as part of their defense.
Study of Death Penalty in North Carolina Shows That ‘Race Matters’ | University of Colorado at Boulder