Death by Design: Capital Punishment as Social Psychological System

By Craig Haney | Go to book overview

9

Condemning the Other:
Race, Mitigation and the "Empathic Divide"

It is tempting to pretend that minorities on death row share a fate
in no way connected to our own, that our treatment of them
sounds no echoes beyond the chambers in which they die. Such
an illusion is ultimately corrosive, for the reverberations of injustice
are not so easily confined.

—Justice William Brennan, McCleskey v. Kemp (1987)

At the start of this book I noted that the various social psychological influences and effects that facilitated the death-sentencing process were cumulative—that is, that together they represented a procedural whole that was larger and more powerful than the sum of its individual parts. In this chapter I want to examine some of the ways in which those forces come together to affect whether a capital defendant is condemned to death. Although the social psychological processes that I have discussed to this point apply to death penalty trials in general, here I want to discuss an important subset of capital cases—ones in which defendants are African American. These cases have special historical significance, as I note later, and they illustrate the way in which the capital trial process can be further compromised by the pernicious influence of race-based animus.

One mechanism of moral disengagement that I discussed at some length in chapter 7—the tendency to create, highlight, or exaggerate difference and transform it into defect and deficiency—helps to explain the chronic racism that has plagued the criminal justice system throughout our nation's history,1 including, of course, the legacy of discriminatory death sentencing.2 As Samuel Pillsbury observed: "In a society such as ours, where race is an obvious and deeply-rooted source of social differences, race presents the most serious otherness problem."3 I argue in this chapter that aspects of the deathsentencing process serve to preserve this sense of race-based otherness and amplify its effects on the capital jury's choice between life and death.

-189-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Death by Design: Capital Punishment as Social Psychological System
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Series Foreword vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Contents xix
  • 1: Blinded by the Death Penalty 3
  • 2: Frameworks of Misunderstanding 27
  • 3: Constructing Capital Crimes and Defendants 45
  • 4: The Fragile Consensus 67
  • 5: A Tribunal Organized to Convict and Execute? 93
  • 6: Preparing for the Death Penalty in Advance of Trial 115
  • 7: Structural Aggravation 141
  • 8: Misguided Discretion 163
  • 9: Condemning the Other 189
  • 10: No Longer Tinkering with the Machinery of Death 211
  • Concluding Thoughts: Death Is Different 241
  • Notes 247
  • Index 323
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 329

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.