Scholars in a variety of disciplines continue to debate the following questions with great passion: (1) is justice and punishment being equally distributed in the United States?; and (2) if justice and punishment are not being equally distributed, what are the origins of disparities? Given the global nature of these questions, though, the goal of this study was to seek an answer to two more specific questions that are at the center of the debate: (1) were there race and ethnic differences in death sentence dispositions in California, Florida, and Texas between 1975 and 1995?; and (2) if yes, what were the most influential factors affecting these outcomes?
One argument could be made that given modern judicial reform, discrimination has disappeared. Another argument, though, could be made that given the historical relationships between groups, discrimination continues to be present in the American criminal justice system. The goal of this project was not to propose an [answer] to the evils of prejudice and discrimination; rather, the objective was to seek preliminary explanations to both questions by utilizing alternative methodologies and perspectives. Ideally, this project would serve as a guide for those who are interested in developing and implementing remedies and solutions to existing social ills.