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Empathy, distance, and blame: Juror perceptions of black male homicide victims in capital cases1
Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice  (IF),  Pub Date : 2019-01-02, DOI: 10.1080/15377938.2019.1579140
Alicia A. Girgenti-Malone

Abstract The courts have consistently struggled with the discriminatory imposition of the death penalty. This research employs data from the Capital Jury Project which seeks to identify arbitrariness in jurors’ decision-making. Results indicate that Black male victims are perceived to be the most likely to have a problem with drugs/alcohol and come from poor/deprived backgrounds and the least likely to be respected in the community and be perceived as innocent. Black male victims and their families also receive the least empathy from jurors, whom jurors feel the most distance from, and who are most to blame for their victimization. Results suggest the enduring racialization of violent crime and the continuing devaluation of the lives of Black males in American society.