The Influence of Latino Ethnicity on the Imposition of the Death Penalty

Posted: 19 Oct 2020

Date Written: October 2020

Abstract

With respect to African Americans, the history of racial discrimination in the imposition of the death penalty is well-known, and the persistence of racial disparities in the modern era of capital punishment is well-documented. In contrast, the influence of Latino ethnicity on the imposition of the death penalty has been studied very little. A review of the limited literature reveals evidence of discrimination against Latinos. Archival studies generally find ethnicity-of-victim discrimination, and some of those studies find ethnicity-of-defendant discrimination disadvantaging Latino defendants; these findings parallel the findings of the much more robust literature investigating bias against African American defendants and victims. The controlled experimental studies generally show both ethnicity-of-defendant and ethnicity-of-victim discrimination disadvantaging Latinos. Related literature investigating stereotypes, animosity, and discrimination in other criminal justice decisions further suggests the likelihood of ethnicity discrimination in the imposition of capital punishment, as well as the need for further research.

Suggested Citation

Johnson, Sheri Lynn, The Influence of Latino Ethnicity on the Imposition of the Death Penalty (October 2020). Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Vol. 16, pp. 421-431, 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3711287 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-lawsocsci-042220-111211

Sheri Lynn Johnson (Contact Author)

Cornell Law School ( email )

Myron Taylor Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
United States
607-255-6478 (Phone)
607-255-7193 (Fax)

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