Recently, Washington State abolished the death penalty under the pretense that it is unconstitutional due to racial bias. With the case State v. Gregory, “the state court held that the death penalty, as imposed in the state of Washington, was unconstitutional because it was racially biased.” The Washington State Supreme Court looked at statistics surrounding the death penalties, focusing on two studies in particular. The first study found that counties that had a higher black population had more death penalties conviction. The second study shows that in Washington a black man was 4.5 times more likely to be given the death penalty than a white man in the same situation. Using these statistics, it was concluded that the death penalty was influenced by racial bias and therefore is unconstitutional.
The issue of racial bias and the death penalty is found in states other than Washington, including Ohio. According to Ohio.com, there’s a concentration of of death penalty convictions from two counties, with over 56% of all death sentencing coming from Cuyahoga and Franklin counties. This could imply racial bias, depending on the crime rate in the counties. There are also issues surrounding false convictions. 1 person is released for every 6 people executed, higher than the National average of 1 in 10. There’s also issues surrounding the costs. If there was an investigation, “they would find that the roughly 330 death sentences since 1981 have likely cost Ohio taxpayers over $1 billion.” When taking all of these issues into account, it is difficult to say we need to keep the Death Penalty.
While it may be difficult, some people still do. Many people say that those who get the Death Penalty are those who have committed the worse crimes. In California, Death Row inmates have killed over 1,000 people. The claim is made that not only do we need capital punishment to protect us from the worst of the worst, but it brings closure to victims family. The issue surrounding this is that while over 1,000 people have been killed by those on death row, it’s highly unlikely that everyone on death row committed a crime, which false convictions being an issue. With a glaring issue like this, it’s hard to justify continuing the Death Penalty, even though it might bring closure to families.